Foundation receives Guggenheim art collection, but also multiple challenges from family.

Vanity Fair recently detailed the saga of the fight to gain control of the Guggenheim art collection in “The Bitter Legal Battle over Peggy Guggenheim’s Blockbuster Art Collection.”

The saga begins with the death of Peggy Guggenheim in 1979, when she bequeathed her collection of 326 valuable paintings and sculptures to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation so that it could be put on display and made available to the public six days a week.

The descendants have continuously claimed that the foundation violates the terms of the donation and have asked courts to revoke the gift because of those violations. The foundation denies the charges.

The descendants have lost four times so far, most recently when they lost an appeal in 2015. However, they continue to persist in their claims and it appears this battle has no end in sight.

The descendants have always maintained that they are fighting to make sure Peggy Guggenheim’s wishes are followed. However, since the art collection is one of the most valuable in the world, the idea that they might also be interested in the money cannot be entirely dismissed. This notion may have legs, since their efforts have thus far failed to convince the courts that the foundation is not fulfilling the terms of the donation.

Battles over valuable assets are common in estate administration, and even more so when the valuable assets are not inherited by family members who might want them.

Philip J. Kavesh
Nationally recognized attorney helping clients with customized estate planning guidance for over 40 years.
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