The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation has announced that Philip Rylands will step down from his role as director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and as the Guggenheim Foundation’s director for Italy in June next year. During his 16-year tenure, the Guggenheim Collection became the most-visited museum of Modern art in Italy and the second most visited museum in Venice.
Rylands first joined the Guggenheim Foundation as the administrator of Venice collection following Peggy Guggenheim’s death in 1979, while he was still a PhD student at Cambridge University. Rylands—who was a close friend of both Peggy and her son Sinbad—helped rescue works of art from the flooded basement of her palazzo, the Venier dei Leoni on the Grand Canal in Venice, shortly before her death. He later oversaw the conversion and restoration of the palazzo into the present day museum.
In a press release, Rylands says that Peggy was “a woman and collector like no other, [and] sharing her palazzo and her collection of 20th-century masterpieces for these many years has been a profound joy”.
Rylands is also credited for founding the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Internship in the 1980s, which provides one- to three-month internships for students around the world to gain practical experience in museology and Modern art. In the coming months, the collection will begin searching for a new director.