Peggy Guggenheim, an art collector of modern art in the early to mid-20th century, was known as a bit of a wild woman. She was not restrained to social confines when it came to marriage or occupation and that was especially true when it came to her passion—collecting art. In 1942, she opened the Art of this Century Gallery in New York City, where she hung work by many European artists (Kandinsky, Arp, Miró, and Braque) and also displayed work by at-the-time lesser-known American expressionists, most notably Jackson Pollock. In January 1943, Guggenheim sent ripples through the art world, when she showcased the work of 31 modern women artists, including Alice Trumbull Mason, Gypsy Rose Lee, Frida Kahlo, Dorothea Tanning and Hedda Sterne.
“I became fascinated by this woman, who in the 1940s did things that were unheard of in the art world,” says James Library curator Lisa Flynn. With International Women’s Day on March 8, Flynn began working on another “31 Women” exhibition, and she has gathered one piece of art from 31 female artists from around New England and Pennsylvania. Flynn curates month-long shows at the James Library from September until June. For many exhibits, she pairs artists together, but this will be the first time 31 different artists will come together. “We have a variety of work—watercolor, encaustic, pastel, oil, acrylic,” says Flynn. Four women are from the National Association of Women Artists. The exhibit will be on display March 3 – 31 with an opening reception on March 3 from 6 – 9 p.m. James Library, 24 West St., Norwell, 781-659-7100, jameslibrary.org