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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Montblanc Unveils Peggy Guggenheim Pen While Celebrating 25 Years Of Arts Patronage

Montblanc Patron of Art Peggy Guggenheim 888 limited edition writing instrument

Each year Montblanc creates “Patron of Art” limited edition writing instruments to honor an historical figure noted for his or her patronage to the arts. This year the honoree is Peggy Guggenheim, the late American heiress who spent her last 30 years in Venice displaying her modern art collection in her residence, which is now home to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection

Guggenheim is credited with advancing the careers of several important modern artists including the American painters Jackson Pollock and William Congdon, the Austrian surrealist Wolfgang Paalen, the sound poet Ada Verdun Howell and the German painter Max Ernst, whom she married in December 1941. 

Montblanc Patron of Art Peggy Guggenheim 4810 writing instrument

In addition, the German luxury brand presents the Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Awards to individuals in 16 countries (including its newest countries Greece, Brazil and Colombia) who are currently supporting arts and cultural programs and making them more accessible to larger audiences. 

This year’s award winner in Italy is Giorgio Marconi, founder of the historic Studio Marconi in Milan, who established the Marconi Foundation for Contemporary and Modern Art in 2004, a non-profit institution for the promotion and diffusion of contemporary art and culture through exhibitions, publications, cultural events and meetings. It publicizes and promotes contemporary art and enhances important archives and art collections of the 20th century. In conjunction with Expo 2015, Giorgio Marconi celebrated fifty years of activity with a group exhibition and with a tribute to Lucio Fontana at the recently renewed and extended Marconi Foundation’s premises.

The Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage awards cocktail reception on the roof of Peggy Guggenheim Collection overlooking the Grand Canal of Venice. Photo by Anthony DeMarco

Both Guggenheim and Marconi were honored at a cocktail reception April 26 on the rooftop of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, overlooking The Grand Canal of Venice, followed by tour of a new museum exhibition, “Imagine: New Imagery in Italian Art, 1960–1969” and finally a dinner for 130 guests in a candlelit room inside the historic Palazzo Polignac. Guests included socialite Chloe Delevingne, model Amber Le Bon, designer Jasmine Guinness, actress Camilla Rutherford with Dominic Barker, and actor Jack Guinness.

Guests receiving a tour of the exhibition, “Imagine: New Imagery in Italian Art, 1960–1969,” inside the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Photo by Anthony DeMarco

In addition to being the home of Guggenheim, Venice also served as Montblanc’s 25th anniversary celebration for this award. Since 1992, when the award was first handed out (in the neighboring Italian city of Florence), Montblanc has presented more than 240 awards along with more than four million euros in prize money, which is donated to a cultural project of the winner’s choice. 

Dinner inside the Palazzo Polignac. Photo by Anthony DeMarco

Montblanc created three writing instruments to honor Guggenheim. The Limited Edition 888 that features a geometric art deco-inspired pattern on the cap and barrel, accented with red lacquer. The engravings of lion heads on the red gold cap ring are inspired by the exterior of the “Palazzo Venier dei Leoni,” the historic name of Guggenheim’s home and museum. The cap ring is embellished with 10 garnets—the eyes of the lions—and the end of the barrel is reminiscent of the red and white striped mooring pillars found on the Venice waterways. The Montblanc snow-cap emblem, in white marble, crowns the cap. The paws engraved on the gold nib of the fountain pen recall the affection she had for her 14 Lhasa Apso dogs.

The two Montblanc Patron of Art Peggy Guggenheim writing instruments on display at the cocktail event. Photo by Anthony DeMarco

The Montblanc Patron of Art Peggy Guggenheim Limited Edition 4810 series (comprising 4,810 pieces) features the geometric art deco design on a black lacquered and platinum-coated cap and barrel, contrasting with the red and platinum-coated stripes on the end of the barrel. The platinum-coated cap ring is elegantly embossed with lion heads, while the Montblanc emblem that crowns the fountain pen is made of the traditional black and white resin.

A third limited version of the pen comprises 81 pieces, representing the age at which Guggenheim died, is crafted in gold with a “skeletonized” façade.

A wax of the Montblanc Patron of Art Peggy Guggenheim writing instrument on display at the event. Photo by Anthony DeMarco

“We are very excited to host the first of the 16 international award ceremonies here in Venice, being a city of particular significance for the arts, culture and architecture with a flourishing artistic community since many centuries,” Jérôme Lambert, Montblanc CEO, said on the rooftop of the Guggenheim. “Furthermore, Venice became the home of Peggy Guggenheim, one of the great patrons of the 20th Century, a pioneering woman who understood the cultural importance of nurturing creative talent just like the outstanding patrons we will be honoring around the world this year.”

From left: New co-chairs of the Montblanc Foundation, Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, and Montblanc CEO, Jérôme Lambert. Photo by Daniele Venturelli

Lambert also used the stage to announce new directions for the awards program and to announce new co-chairmen for the Montblanc Cultural Foundation, which oversees the awards program and other cultural and arts initiatives funded by the company. 

“It is a good thing when you are a German company that you have a common sense of what is consistency,” Lambert said. “After 25 years we understood it is necessary to give the award a new dimension a new energy.”

Giorgio Marconi (left) receives the Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award for Italy from Till Fellrath and Sam Bardaouil. Photo by Daniele Venturelli

In a private interview Lambert said that for the Patronage Awards, it means creating ways to make the winners more visible and providing more resources to attach Montblanc products to the awards program. The same holds true for the foundation’s other projects, including its “Cutting Edge Art Collection” and “Young Directors Award.”

“We want the foundation to be more present as a source of inspiration, particularly when it comes to writing instruments,” he said. 

The new foundation co-chairs are Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, co-founders of Art Reoriented, a multidisciplinary curatorial platform based in Munich and New York. They both spoke at the event.

“The art of patronage award is actually quite visionary,” Fellrath said. “It was started at a time when it was not (fashionable) to talk about what is a patron and how can we support them and what is the role of such patrons.”

Bardaouil added, “A true patron is someone who really takes risks and allows an artist to flourish and allows an arts community to develop a discourse with a platform and with all the things that is required to be really thriving and healthy. That is what we think the arts patronage award stands for and we are happy to be a part of it and see it move forward to the future.”

A calligrapher demonstrating the art of writing. Photo by Anthony DeMarco
Marconi received a Patron of Art Peggy Guggenheim limited edition fountain pen encased in a trophy and 15,000 euros ($17,160) to be donated to a cultural project of his choice.

He joins a long diverse list of honorees presented with the award that includes Prince Charles, British maestro Sir Simon Rattle, Italian architect Renzo Piano, American recording artist Quincy Jones and Japanese artist Yoko Ono. 

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