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Director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice to Step Down

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation announced today that Philip Rylands will step down as the foundation director for Italy, effective June 2017. “For more than thirty-five years, Philip has brought to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection a genuine affection for its founder, dedication to the Guggenheim’s mission, and a deep commitment to education,” said Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. “The impact of his work can be seen in the record number of visitors to the museum in 2016, the thousands who have participated in its lauded internship program, and the numerous enhancements he has implemented to support expanded education and temporary exhibition programs. Significant works of Italian, European, and American art brought into the Guggenheim Foundation’s collection during Philip’s tenure now complement the incomparable collection of Peggy Guggenheim. A recently concluded, highly successful capital campaign greatly enhances both the presentation of art and the visitor experience.”

Rylands joined the Guggenheim Foundation in 1986 as administrator of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, overseeing the operation and development of her palazzo and collection of twentieth-century art following her death in 1979. He became deputy director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in 1986, and director in 2000. In 2009, he assumed the additional role of the Guggenheim Foundation’s director for Italy. Under Rylands’s leadership, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection has become the most-visited museum of modern art in Italy and the second-most-visited museum in Venice. During his tenure, Rylands oversaw the conversion and restoration of the eighteenth-century Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, Peggy Guggenheim’s former home on the Grand Canal in Venice, which also houses her collection.

In 1980, Rylands founded the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Internship Program, which has been a training ground for future museum professionals. He has also directed the management and operation of the US Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, which was acquired by the Guggenheim Foundation in 1986. The search for new directorial leadership of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection will begin in the coming months.