One museum, two shows, over fifty works from two movements of the avant-garde that distinguished the history of twentieth century art: Cubo-Futurism and Surrealism. This summer the Peggy Guggenheim Collection presents the work of two painters: Jean Metzinger (1883–1956), French Cubist, and Charles Seliger (1926–2009), American Surrealist.
From 9 June through 16 September 2012, the museum's exhibition galleries will be shared between two exhibitions. Cycling, Cubo-Futurism and the Fourth Dimension. 'At The Cycle-Race Track' by Jean Metzingeris centred on Metzinger's painting of 1912, an important work of Parisian Cubism in the collection of the Venice museum, while Seeing the World Within: Charles Seliger in the 1940s is the first show in Europe dedicated to the innovative paintings created by Seliger at the beginning of his career.
Metzinger's painting immortalizes the final meters of the famous Paris-Roubaix cycling race. It depicts Charles Crupelandt, winner of the 1912 race, who thus becomes the object of Metzinger's experiments in the depiction of the fourth dimension as the continuum of space and time—a notion that was current in intellectual and artistic circles in Paris before World War I and which is alluded to by the number '4' in the racetrack grandstand. Peggy Guggenheim's painting is joined by two other paintings and a drawing by Metzinger on the subject of cycling, as well as dynamic representations of speeding cyclists by Umberto Boccioni, Fortunato Depero, Gino Severini, and Mario Sironi. Marcel Duchamp's Box-in-a-Valise contains an image of his 'assisted ready-made' with a bicycle wheel, while his Sad Young Man in a Trainis exemplary of his efforts to depict movement on canvas. Paintings by Georges Braque and Louis Marcoussis share with Metzinger's Cyclists the use of an admixture of sand to the oil paint. A series of historic bicycles, old and new, includes a stationary bicycle developed by the University of Tübingen that can be ridden by visitors, and which illustrates Einstein's theories of the distortion of space when traveling near the speed of light. The show is completed by photographs and posters that evoke the world of cycling around 1912.
Adjacent to this is an exhibition that examines the Surrealist debut of the American painter Charles Seliger, to whom Peggy Guggenheim gave a solo show at her New York gallery Art of This Century in 1945. A series of highly detailed abstract paintings and drawings give voice to the fantastic imagination, inventive processes and figurative liberty characteristic of Surrealism and which deeply influenced the pictorial style of Seliger. With loans from the Seliger Estate, and from private and public collections in the USA, including the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, Connecticut, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, this is the first exhibition of its kind ever mounted. The exhibition is made possible through support from the Mint Museum Auxiliary and awards from the Terra Foundation for American Art and The Dedalus Foundation. It has been organized by the Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, where it was on view through 13 May 2012. It travels first to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (9 June–16 September) and then to the Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute, Utica, New York (20 October–20 January 2013).