In 1922, Peggy Guggenheim married surrealist Lawrence Vail in Paris, who also made collages. In 1938, she met many surrealists and held an «Exhibition of Collages, Papiers-collés and photomontages» at her gallery in London. The exhibition included works by Picasso, Arp, Ernst, Schwitters and others. In 1941, the Guggenheim, Ernst and other surrealists went to New York to escape the war.
By 1942, Peggy Guggenheim had opened her «Art of the Century» gallery in New York. It became a place where one of the boldest, avant-garde arts of the time were demonstrated. In 1942, Lawrence Vail and Joseph Cornell exhibited collage works there, and Marcel Duchamp demonstrated his «Box in a Suitcase.» And while the «Art of the Century» Gallery provided space for European avant-garde emigrant artists, it has also become a hub for advanced New York abstract artists.
In 1945, the Guggenheim invited Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, and William Basiotis to submit works to the collage exhibition. Guggenheim said of Pollock that he didn't feel much of a collage, but she was surprised by the passion with which he attacked the material. Pollock's wife, Lee Krasner, on the other hand, went through a whole phase of collage. Around the time Pollock was lost in alcoholism and unable to paint, she returned to her small studio and found solace in cutting, tearing, and pasting her work. Interestingly, Krasner often used excerpts from his old, discarded paintings, as well as from Pollock's paintings. About her work on collage, she once said, «My collages are about time and change.»