The Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim Museum

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Situated at 5th Avenue and 89th Street in New York City, the Guggenheim Museum is operated by the Solomon R. The goal of the museum is to collect and preserve art objects and to make them accessible to visitors through exhibitions and programs.The first Guggenheim museum was built in 1939 and was called the Museum of Non-Objective Painting.Later an idea came about to build a permanent home for the museum in Manhattan. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.The building is a symphony of triangles, ovals, arcs, circles, and squares, which attract the attention of passersby.In 1992 the museum was renovated by adding considerable overall exhibition space. In the meantime, Guggenheim Museum SoHo was opened in downtown Manhattan.The museum presents Russia-the most comprehensive exhibition of Russian art in America. It features the greatest masterpieces of Russian art from the 13th century to the present.First-class Western European paintings; sculptures from the imperial art collections assembled by Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, and Nicholas I in the 18th and 19th centuries; and collections of Sergei Shchukin and Ivan Morozov are the highlights of the exhibition.The rotunda and galleries of the museum are devoted to the age of the icon (13th-17th centuries) and royal art collections of the 18th and early 19th centuries. The iconostasis, a wall of painted images, visually dominates Eastern Orthodox churches.Multiple panels of the Deesis tier from the famous 1497 iconostasis of the Kirillo-Belozersk Monastery's Dormition Cathedral are noteworthy.Artworks on display at the museum include art by Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and other famous artists. Thannhauser, and more than 150 works of Kandinsky, are counted among the permanent holdings.Books, posters, artworks of famous artists, creative toys, and whimsical objects are available at the museum store.

Illuminating Details from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Blueprints

Ashley Mendelsohn | Jun 23, 2017

Guggenheim Blogs explores the museum’s array of obscure details discovered by a thorough analysis of their archival documents.

This article originally appeared on, and is used with permission.

Over the course of the sixteen-year period between the commissioning of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1943 and its 1959 opening, the project underwent a series of revisions. The iconic spiral form remained primarily unchanged, but a close reading of documents in the Guggenheim Museum Archives sheds additional light on an array of obscure details that were designed out over time to accommodate budgetary, programmatic, and structural needs and constraints.

One of those unrealized details was an alternate means of navigating the museum: Architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s design was originally distinguished by two discrete ramps—the Grand Ramp, that all Guggenheim visitors know well, and the Quick Ramp. The latter, a smaller, steeper ramp, was intended for “quick” access between each level of the museum.



The Quick Ramp is depicted on the left-hand side of this section drawing from the 1953 presentation set produced for Harry Guggenheim. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Archives, New York, NY Copyright © 2017 Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ. All rights reserved. Photo: Kristopher McKay

Detail of 1953 section drawing showing the Quick Ramp. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Archives, New York, NY

The blueprints shown here are 2 of the 36 in the 1953 presentation set produced for Harry Guggenheim, museum founder Solomon R. Guggenheim’s nephew and longtime Guggenheim Foundation president. The drawing below illustrates the relationship between the two ramps in plan: overlapping circles. This intersection of pure forms was archetypal of Wright’s design process. The annotations on the drawing reveal that the Quick Ramp was designed to be more than twice as steep as the Grand Ramp. The ramping exhibition space of the rotunda’s spiral rises one unit for every 20 units of horizontal change, while the Quick Ramp was designed to rise one unit for every 7 units of horizontal change. That is practically a slide.



Plan drawing from the 1953 presentation set produced for Harry Guggenheim. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Archives, New York, NY. Copyright © 2017 Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ. All rights reserved. Photo: Kristopher McKay

Detail of Quick Ramp on plan drawing from the 1953 presentation set produced for Harry Guggenheim. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Archives, New York, NY. Copyright © 2017 Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ. All rights reserved. Photo: Kristopher McKay

Another intriguing detail from the drawing is the Index of Surface Finishes, which shows that Wright did not initially plan for the exclusive use of terrazzo flooring. Both the Grand and Quick ramps were designated “CF” for cork flooring. Only the rotunda floor is labeled with the “TF” for terrazzo. It’s unsurprising that cork was eventually ruled out, as it would have been both expensive and difficult to maintain. Be that as it may, this early material specification speaks to Wright’s vision of the museum as a social space cork flooring would have absorbed sound, ensuring an entirely different acoustic quality in the rotunda.

Wright and the museum’s founding director Hilla Rebay first unveiled the design of the museum to the public at a press luncheon at the Plaza Hotel on July 9, 1945. Later that summer, the first set of working drawings were produced and another press preview at the Plaza was held, this time with a large-scale model. From the beginning, conventional drawings of the Guggenheim Museum—a building with almost no right angles or parallel surfaces—were difficult to interpret. For that reason, constructing a physical model was essential, since it conveyed an accurate and accessible depiction of the building’s design to the press and to all of the parties involved in the project.

Frank Lloyd Wright explained the importance of the model to Solomon R. Guggenheim, writing to him on August 28,1945:

“The model is now finished. It is a great beauty. It will save us many thousands of dollars in the construction of the building, as any dubious points in the plans are cleared up immediately by a look at the model.”

Frank Lloyd Wright, Hilla Rebay, and Solomon R. Guggenheim standing beside the 1945 model of the Guggenheim Museum. © SRGF Archives, New York. Photo: Margaret Carson

There are several noticeable differences between the 1945 model and the building as it stands today, including the Grand Dome glass roof over the rotunda and the spherical glass observatory that capped the elevator shaft. The greatest discrepancy, however, is the lot size. In 1944, the Guggenheim Foundation acquired land along Fifth Avenue that did not span the full block between 88th and 89th Streets. Two buildings, a 14-story apartment building and a townhouse, existed on the north end of the block. The initial design, as depicted in the model, shows the museum on this smaller site. It wasn’t until 1951, when the entire site was purchased, that Wright revised the design to extend to 89th Street.

The model was developed and adapted over time. This image from December 1946 shows thin steel columns built in along the inner edge of the main gallery’s spiral. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Archives, New York, NY. Copyright © 2017 Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ. All rights reserved.

The photograph shown above of Wright, Rebay, and Solomon R. Guggenheim standing alongside the model has been widely distributed. However, the image’s vantage point doesn’t make clear the complexity of the model, which was constructed to break down into sections, revealing the inner workings of the building. Photographs of sections of the model clearly show the smaller, secondary ramp spiraling around the elevator shaft. The Quick Ramp was eventually replaced by the museum’s distinctive triangular staircase in 1955.

The stories of the two ramps and the material choices constitute only portions of the history of the design of the Guggenheim Museum. The model, the six sets of construction drawings, and the sketches—around seven hundred of them—that were produced and revised throughout the development of the project provide a plethora of insights into Wright’s design process. There is plenty to mine in the Guggenheim Museum archives—the Guggenheim’s Library and Archives department is in the process of applying for a grant to have their collection of Wright’s drawings digitized in an effort to make this wealth of information available to scholars and Wright enthusiasts alike. For now, those who dream of skateboarding down the rotunda’s spiral can fantasize about the speeds they could have reached on Wright’s Quick Ramp.

The Guggenheim Bilbao: Making Art History

Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a striking masterpiece of contemporary architecture, serving as a leading destination for modern and contemporary art and design. From the building’s lustrous outer layer of titanium tiles to the plethora of world-class displays housed in its cavernous interior, it is no surprise that the museum has drawn over ten million visitors since its opening.

Inaugurated by former King Juan Carlos I in 1997, this radical museum brought modern architecture soaring into the third millennium in style – with the city of Bilbao in tow. Almost overnight, the landmark transformed this northern Spanish city from a declining post-industrial center, once famed for its shipbuilding, into a cultural and architectural hub. The museum, set in the city’s former industrial district, spearheaded Bilbao’s urban regeneration project and turned the city into a tourist hotspot, with the resulting influx of visitors meaning that the building — which cost $100 million to build — has more than paid for itself. The museum’s miraculous transformation of the city resulted in the coining of the term the “Guggenheim effect.”

So what is the story behind this monumental masterpiece? As part of the regeneration plan for the region, the Basque authorities collaborated with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and put forward the idea of constructing a Guggenheim museum in Bilbao’s declining port area. Three renowned architects were invited to participate in an international competition to develop a visionary design for the museum: Arata Isozaki from Japan, Austrian Coop Himmelb(l)au, and Frank Gehry, hailing from Canada and the US. The winner was, of course, Frank Gehry, whose use of computer-assisted design technology helped him transform his poetic visions into the impressive structure we see today.

Located on a 32,500-square-meter site beside the Nervión river, Gehry’s nautically themed design merges seamlessly into the urban landscape, with its ship-like shape and titanium fish tails evoking the city’s nautical and industrial heyday, while its glass panels invite visitors inside the museum to embrace the city’s modern-day landmarks.

The museum provides visitors with a range of permanent and temporary exhibits from artists all across the globe. In 1997, the museum opened its doors with The Guggenheim Museums and the Art of this Century, a selection of 300 pieces spanning 20th century art, beginning with European masterpieces by the likes of Picasso, Miró, Matisse and Chagall, moving onto American Pop Art with works by Claes Oldenburg and Andy Warhol, and finishing with examples of Arte Povera and modern, video-based work.

With a huge 11,000 square meters of exhibition space, the museum is divided into 19 galleries, the largest of which is the Arcelor Gallery measuring 130 metres in length. This gallery houses the permanent exhibit The Matter of Time, a collection of seven undulating weathering steel sculptures by Richard Serra, created with this specific gallery in mind. Additional site-specific works include Jenny Holzer’s Installation for Bilbao, featuring nine columns of electronic LED signs displaying unsettling phrases in English, Spanish and Basque (based around the themes of death and intimacy) that race upwards onto the reflective ceiling.

But the museum’s site-specific works are not limited to the interior Jeff Koons’ Puppy, a 13-meter tall steel structure of a West Highland terrier puppy decked out in thousands of flowers guards the museum entrance, while Tulips, a huge bouquet of multicoloured stainless steel balloon flowers by the same artist adds a splash of color to the riverbank, just a scuttle away from Louise Bourgeois’ giant spider sculpture, Maman. Standing between the museum and the river is Fujiko Nakaya’s Fog Sculpture #08025 (F.O.G.) (“F.O.G.” is said to stand for “Frank O. Gehry” but the sculpture does indeed consist of fog rebounding off the reflective ripples of both the water and the building), while in the same vicinity, Yves Klein’s Fire Fountain treats visitors to a display of dancing flames at dusk.

Considered by many critics as one of the best contemporary art museums in Europe, the future of this gleaming museum certainly looks bright. While its permanent collection is gradually maturing, its connections with other major Guggenheim museums in New York, Venice and Berlin grant it continual access to some of the 20th century’s greatest masterpieces.

A Virtual Tour of the Guggenheim

“Nude” by Amedeo Modigliani

“Seated Nude” by Amedeo Modigliani is one of the dozens of nudes created by Modigliani in a modern style characterized by elongation of faces and figures that echo precursors such as Titian, Goya, and Velázquez.

However, Modigliani’s figures differ significantly in the level of raw sensuality they transmit.

Unlike depictions of female nudes from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century, in which female nudity is couched in mythology or allegory, this series of paintings are without any such context, highlighting the painting’s eroticism.

In this painting, the woman’s elongated face and highly simplified features derive Modigliani’s study of Egyptian, African, and Oceanic sculpture.

“Blue Painting” by Vasily Kandinsky

“Blue Painting” by Vasily Kandinsky was produced during his Bauhaus period, in Germany. It was during a period when Kandinsky taught basic design and advanced color theory and where he also conducted painting classes.

His examinations of the effects of forces on straight lines led to his contrasting tones on curved and angled lines. Geometrical elements took on increasing importance, particularly the circle, half-circle, the angle, straight lines, and curves.

Kandinsky augmented his color theory with the elements of visual psychology and Gestalt psychologist research, which had an influenced on him.

In the study of perception, Gestalt psychologists stipulate that impressions are the products of complex interactions among various stimuli.

“Improvisation 28 (2nd version)” by Vasily Kandinsky

“Improvisation 28 (2nd version)” by Vasily Kandinsky (also spelled Wassily) is an expressive abstract that is independent of forms and lines.

Music was an essential catalyst for early abstract art, and Kandinsky used musical terms to identify his works. He called his spontaneous paintings “improvisations” and described elaborate works as “compositions.”

In many of Kandinsky’s works, the identification of the forms and the masses present on the canvas require a more involved analysis.

The inner reality of the art requires a more profound observation of the relationship of all the elements and their harmony.

Landscape with Factory Chimney by Wassily Kandinsky

“Landscape with Factory Chimney” by Wassily Kandinsky (also spelled Vasily) is an abstract landscape with a factory chimney. In many of Kandinsky’s works, the identification of the forms and the masses presented on the canvas require elaborate analysis.

The inner reality of the art requires more profound observations of the relationship of all the elements and their harmony.

Wassily Kandinsky is credited with painting one of the first recognized purely abstract works.

Composition 8 by Kandinsky

“Composition 8” by Vasily Kandinsky (also spelled Wassily) is a composition of geometric elements with erratic and unpredictable positions and colors.

Kandinsky has restricted himself to paint geometric shapes, with larger objects dominating the left side of the canvas, and on the right, the smaller forms clash and overlap with each other.

The shades of color are all different from each other, and the geometric patterns consist of only critical components like circles, semicircles, angles, rectangles, and lines.

Composition 8 was created, during Kandinsky’s Bauhaus era, when he had moved from the Soviet Union to the Weimar Republic because of the increasing restrictions on artistic freedom in the Soviet Union.

“The Yellow Cow” by Franz Marc

“The Yellow Cow” by Franz Marc is one of Marc’s several depictions of animals in the Expressionist style. The painting depicts a yellow jumping cow, surrounded by a colorful, structured landscape.

The picture is a contrast between the dynamic yellow frolicking cow and a natural world filled with hidden forms. A back-to-nature movement that swept the artistic communities in the early years of the twentieth century greatly influenced Franz Marc.

Marc found this nature-oriented quest for spiritual redemption an inspiration for his art. He felt that animals possessed a certain godliness that men had lost.

In 1915, during the war, he wrote: “People with their lack of piety, especially men, never touched my true feelings, But animals with their virginal sense of life awakened all that was good in me.”

“Dreaming Horse” by Franz Marc

“Dreaming Horse” by Franz Marc depicts a male horse sleeping. In Marc’s art, blue represents masculinity and spirituality.

The sleeping horse is surrounded by nature depicted geometrically with reds and greens. The use of black and red contrasts with the green, which represents a place of rest, such as grass.

This painting provides us with a sense of the artist’s struggle for peace and tranquillity in what were becoming turbulent times, leading up to World War I.

The motifs in “Dreaming Horse” are characteristic of his love for animals as are the Cubistic and Fauvist styles which influenced Marc’s Art.

“Stables” by Franz Marc

“Stables” by Franz Marc depicts the images of horses and stables as almost indistinguishable. The artist arranged a group of red, blue, and white horses within a framework of parallel and crossing diagonals.

The horses are massed on the picture plane and transformed into flat colored shapes.

The patterns of the horses’ tails and the shifting planes of colors suggest the influence of the Futurists whom Marc had met during a trip to Paris in 1912.

Like Vasily Kandinsky, Franz Marc was searching for ways to reflect inner spiritual and emotional states through art.

“Boats at Saintes-Maries” by Vincent van Gogh

“Boats at Saintes-Maries” by Vincent van Gogh depicts the return of the fishing fleet using a reed pen and ink.

The high horizon plus the boats positioned close to the top edge of the frame, draw the audience into the choppy sea.

Vincent van Gogh created several “Fishing Boat and Seascape” paintings and drawings at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in 1888.

When he lived in Arles, he took a 30-mile stagecoach trip to the sea-side fishing village where he made several paintings and drawings of the seascape and town.

“The Neighborhood of Jas de Bouffan” by Paul Cézanne

“The Neighborhood of Jas de Bouffan” by Paul Cézanne depicts a large foreground tree at one side and a grouping of smaller trees at the other side, to frame a distant view in the center.

Paul Cézanne created about thirty-seven oils and sixteen watercolors of the Jas de Bouffan and its surroundings. In the mid- and late 1880s that Cézanne explored the many motifs offered by the manor and its grounds.

Cézanne’s idyllic period at Jas de Bouffan was temporary. From 1890 until his death, he was beset by troubling events, and he withdrew further into his painting, spending long periods as a virtual recluse.

“Tale of Creation” – “Genesis II” by Franz Marc

“Tale of Creation,” also known as “Genesis II” by Franz Marc, is a colored print from woodcut, illustrating the creation story in the Book of Genesis. Pure and uncorrupted life emerges from a chaotic and dynamic swirl of interlocking forms.

Color for Marc came to embody emotional and spiritual states. Animals were frequent subjects in his paintings, as Marc considered them more spiritual and closer to nature than humans.

Marc, in this woodcut print, was influenced by his studies of early printed Bibles and their woodcut illustrations.

Marc was planned to include this print in an illustrated Bible he was organizing for the Blaue Reiter, the Munich-based artist group he cofounded.

However, by 1914 at the beginning of World War I, when Franz Marc created Schöpfungsgeschichte II (Genesis II), he had lost his faith that the natural world could provide an antidote to what he viewed as a sick society.


Learning Through Art, an educational program of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, was founded in 1970 thanks to the support of Natalie K. Lieberman, who had witnessed the elimination of art programs from New York City public schools. During these close to fifty years, over 100,000 New York City public schoolchildren have participated in this initiative.

The first Learning Through Art exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao was held in 1998. Convinced of the great educational value of this program, we wanted to bring it over and adapt it to our community. During these twenty years, we have had wonderful experiences, enriching interactions, travelled many roads, asked and answered an infinite number of questions, with surprises always part of the process and fun inaugurations that have filled the Museum with music and laughter. The dedication of many teachers who enthusiastically joined the adventure to explore new avenues and flung open the doors of their classrooms to our artists has been especially rewarding.

11 am to 7 pm. Monday closed, except: January 4 March 29 April 5 June 21 and 28 Mondays in July and August September 6 and 13 October 11 November 1 December 6 and 27, 2021. The Museum will be closed on December 25 and January 1. On December 24 and 31 the Museum will close at 5 pm.

Museum of Biodiversity, Panama City (2014)

Panama is home to a remarkable diversity of species – a perfect choice for Gehry's first project in Latin America, the Museum of Biodiversity. The colorful facades and roofs are reminiscent of local Caribbean homes. The museum shocases the "origin of the Panamanian isthmus and its gigantic impact on the planet's biodiversity."

Shapes and style: Frank O. Gehry's spectacular architecture

Buildings that changed the world - The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao

Time and again, this building tops the charts for the colossal impact it’s had on the architectural and art worlds, as well as on urban regeneration and tourism. Before the museum opened in 1997, the northern Spanish city of Bilbao was a cultural backwater. Since then, the museum has had more than 10 million visitors, and has put Bilbao firmly on the map.

Its conception came about through a collaboration between the Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation and Basque authorities, who spent the 1980s coming up with a scheme to turn the place around with the help of big names such as Norman Foster, Santiago Calatrava and Arata Isozaki creating a new airport, subway system, and footbridge.

These ambitions coincided with Canadian-born Gehry’s own determination to push the boundaries in his reaction against Postmodernism. When he won the museum commission, he was desperate not to do historical pastiche, and found himself thinking about fish, inhabiting the planet long before man came along. As he drew them and studied them, he realised they had an architectural form and appeared to be in motion even when they were static. He developed this theme, introducing increasingly audacious curves. Advanced digital modelling technolgies allowed Gehry to realise what our new book 20th Century World Architecture, calls his personal vision of fragmented form and space over structural concerns."

But Gehry is described as computer-illiterate and it was left to the techie brains in his California studio to work out how to actually construct these ideas. They pulled it off by reworking a computer software programme to design fighter planes for architectural use. This was pioneering stuff, and when the building was unveiled the architectural fraternity was duly awe-struck.

Built in limestone, glass, and titanium, Gehry’s original thinking is evident, and the building has been likened to a bouquet of fish tails. 20th Century World Architecture calls it "contemporary public architecture that playfully breaks out of the rectilinear mould," adding that "it subverts many of the 20th century's architectural tenets, such as the subjugation of form to function."

But perhaps Gehry's building's real legacy is the ardour with which post-industrial, lacklustre or just plain uninspiring cities around the world commission a new cultural building, in the hope that they too will achieve what's come to be known as, 'the Bilbao effect'.

Guggenheim Museum: History And Tour Of NY’s Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim Museum is one of the most popular attractions in New York City. Its collections of contemporary, early Modern, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works of art have been viewed by more than one million visitors every year for the last decade. The museum has been in operation for over eight decades. Originally known as the Museum of Non-Objective Painting when it opened in 1939, the museum was founded by the non-profit Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Its first director was artist and co-founder Hilla von Rebay. The organization was renamed the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1952 to honor the late philanthropist and museum co-founder.

Rebay and Guggenheim were avid art collectors. Guggenheim began buying paintings created by European artists of the 18th and 19th centuries in his twenties and thirties. Getting to know Rebay sparked his interest in abstract art. Solomon Guggenheim later opened his art collection at his New York Plaza hotel apartment to the public before forming the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

The foundation was developed to help people appreciate and enjoy modern art. Their first art displays were held in midtown Manhattan in 1939. Works by Marc Chagall, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, Wassily Kandinsky, Robert Delaunay and others were made available for viewing. The Guggenheim Foundation added so many abstract paintings to their inventory in the 1940’s that they soon realized that they needed a permanent home for their collection.

Solomon Guggenheim and Hilla von Rebay wrote to renowned architect Frank Llloyd Wright in 1943 and asked him to develop a building where their paintings could be displayed and stored. Wright decided to work on the project. He created more than 700 sketches over 15 years before a final design was developed.

Wright envisioned the museum as a “temple of the spirit.” The unique building’s cylindrical shape is larger and wider at the top than it is at the bottom of the structure. He created a ramp gallery that starts at the ground floor and spirals upward all the way to just below the ceiling’s skylight. The circular pattern was similar to the shell of the nautilus, a distinct marine mollusk commonly found in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Several well-known geometric forms were incorporated into the museum’s design. Wright gave symbolism to each shape that was used. He stated that “these geometric forms suggest certain human ideas, moods, sentiments – as for instance, the circle, infinity the spiral, organic progress. the square, integrity.”

Photo: H.R. Tsua, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

The surface of the Guggenheim Museum was made from concrete. Czech structural engineer Jaroslav Josef Polivka helped Wright with the gallery ramp and structural design of the building. James Johnson Sweeney replaced Rebay as director in 1953 and oversaw the last years of construction. The museum finally opened to the public on October 21,1959 on the corner of the Museum Mile section of Fifth Avenue and East 89th Street in New York City. Frank Lloyd Wright passed away in April of that year, never knowing how his creation would be perceived by the public.

The museum had plenty of critics before it even opened. Some thought that it was inappropriate to place art in such a building, while others thought that people would pay more attention to the structure itself than the creative works inside the building. Twenty-one local artists lent their signatures to a letter that was sent to the Guggenheim Foundation expressing their dislike of having some of their artwork being displayed in a museum that they felt was unsatisfactory.

Despite the opposition, the museum opened to impressive crowds. The building was frequently praised by visitors, art lovers and architects. It also inspired later buildings. The foundation continued to grow their collection of art from around the world. Sweeney acquired paintings by Paul Cezanne, Jackson Pollock and David Hayes and sculptures created by Alberto Giacometti, Joseph Czasky, Jean Calder and others. Thomas M. Messer became the new director of the Guggenheim Museum in 1961 and added more masterpieces by Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, Edouard Manet and Vincent van Gogh.

Thomas Krens became the next director of the Guggenheim Foundation in 1998. During his 20 year tenure, the museum acquired minimalist works of art by Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Brice Marden and Robert Mangold among others. Conceptual post-modern art from James Turner, Richard Serra, Lawrence Weiner and Robert Morris were acquired, and 200 photographs were also donated by the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation in 1992. Current director Richard Armstrong has continued the tradition of his predecessors by obtaining more quality works of art for the museum’s permanent and temporary collections.

The museum has continued to expand and change over the years to accommodate its patrons and its growing art collection. The original building was renovated in 1992 and a new tower was erected behind it. The skylight’s original design was restored after earlier changes and four new exhibition galleries. The foundation sold several of their works by Chagall, Kandinsky, Modigliani and other artists to finance the changes and upgrades. The sale had its fair share of controversy but still raised more than $40 million.

Additional remodeling and restoration of the original building began in 2005. Cracks were fixed, paint was removed and replaced and an overall evaluation of its condition was performed. The museum was declared to be structurally sound after the project was completed three years later. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in May 2005 and was officially registered as as National Historic Landmark in October 2008. The Guggenheim Museum has been listed as a New York City Landmark since August 1990.

Exhibitions have rotated in and out of the museum since its opening and several collections have been shared with the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain and other galleries around the world. Some of the more notable items in the New York location’s permanent galleries include:

Abstract Speed + Sound by Giacomo Balla, circa 1914.

Brooklyn Bridge (Pont de Brooklyn) by Albert Gleizes, 1915.

The Hermitage at Pontoise by Camille Pissarro, 1867.

Homme aux bras croises (Man With Crossed Arms) by Paul Cezanne, circa 1899.

I can’t work like this by Natascha Sadr Haghighian, 2007.

La cheval (The Horse) by Raymond Duchamp-Villon, 1914.

Landscape With Factory Chimney by Wassily Kandinsky, 1910.

Les Fumeurs (The Smokers) by Fernand Leger, 1912.

Mountains at Saint-Remy by Vincent Van Gogh, 1889.

Pierrot-carrousel by Alexander Archipenko, 1913.

Red Balloon (Roter Ballon) by Paul Klee, 1922.

Red Lily Pads by Alexander Calder, 1956.

TV Garden by Nam June Palk, completed in 2000.

Violin and Palette (Violon et palette, Dans l’atelier) by Georges Braque, 1909.

The Yellow Cow by Franz Marc, 1911.

Visitors are welcome to tour the many exhibits and individual works of art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum during normal business hours. People often recommend blocking several hours out of your day so that you can experience everything that the venue has to offer. You can also view many of their selections online. The Guggenheim is a wonderful place to spend time with friends, family and visitors from out of town. You can appreciate and admire unique pieces that were created by many well-known (and some not so well-known) artists over the last three centuries that represent segments of our ever-changing world. However in closing perhaps the moist enchanting and exciting experience one encounters when visiting the Guggenheim Museum is the building itself. It will leave you breathless………..

20 Guggenheim Facts


1) The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum was Frank Lloyd Wright' s most notable achievements. The museum opened on October 21, 1959 in New York City, six months after Wright passed away at 91.

2) Frank Lloyd Wright originally wanted to call the Guggenheim the "Archeseum," which means "to see from the highest."

3) Frank Lloyd Wright's original plan for the Guggenheim Museum called for a glass elevator.

4) The seal on the floor of the Guggenheim entrance says, "Let each man exercise the art he knows" - Aristophanes 422 B.C.

5) When the Guggenheim Museum first opened in 1959, the cost of admission was 50 cents.

6) A walk up the Guggenheim ramp from the ground floor to the dome is 1,416 feet or over 1/4 of a mile long.

7) Frank Lloyd Wright first proposed red marble for the museum facade. He said, "Red is the color of Creation".

Wright at the Guggenheim. Photo Courtesy of the FLW Foundation.

8) The Guggenheim building is made of 700 tons of steel and 7,000 cubic feet of poured concrete.

9) During construction of the Guggenheim, Frank Lloyd Wright leased a suite at the Plaza Hotel and entirely redecorated the interior.

10) When writing to Hilla Rebay in 1944, Frank Lloyd Wright envisioned the Guggenheim as an "inverted ziggurat".

Guggenheim, Hilla Rebay and Frank Lloyd Wright in front of Bauer's painting "White Fugue", 1930s.

11) The distance between the Guggenheim rotunda floor to the top of the building measures 97 feet 9 inches.

12) Richard Serra's 2005 "The Matter of Time" at Museo Guggenheim Bilbao was the largest sculpture commission in history.

Frank Lloyd Wright surveys construction of the Guggenheim in 1957. Photo by Sam Falk/NYT

13) In 1945 Life Magazine published an article about the Guggenheim titled "New Art Museum Will Be New York's Strangest Building".

14) In 1953, Frank Lloyd Wright constructed a temporary glass-pavilion building for the Guggenheim collection on the grounds where the museum can be found today.

15) Fun fact for those in line today - 3,000 people waited in line on Oct 21, 1959 to be the first to visit the Guggenheim Museum.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum rises on Fifth Avenue, ca. 1958

16) In 1943 Frank Lloyd Wright was asked to design a "temple of spirit" for non-objective paintings.

17) Movies filmed at the Guggenheim include Bye Bye Birdie, Woody Allen's Manhattan, Men in Black, The International & When in Rome.

18) Kandinsky featured nearly 100 paintings & 60+ works on paper from 1902 to 1942.

Frank Lloyd Wright inspects construction of the Guggenheim Museum, New York City September 6, 1957 photographer: Sam Falk

19) To design the Guggenheim Museum Frank, Lloyd Wright created over 700 sketches.

20) His design created a lot of arguments as many people did not like it. One person said it looked like an "an indigestible hot cross bun", and another said it looked like "an inverted oatmeal dish."

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Restoration Completion Photograph by David Heald - © The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Restoration CompletionPhotograph by David Heald - © The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York.

Cover photo: Frank Lloyd Wright, Hilla Rebay, and Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York (1945). Courtesy of the Solomon R.Guggenheim Foundation, New York.

Ho conosciuto WRIGHT attraverso i libri studiandone la vita e le opere. ebbene ha cambiato il corso della mia esistenza. Grazie Maestro.

Guggenheim Museum turns 50: Here's 50 facts about New York institution

One of New York's living legends is turning 50. Today, exactly five decades after it opened its doors, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is celebrating its birthday with free admission all day long.

The Fifth Ave. landmark, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is one of the most controversial pieces of architecture ever erected in New York and one of the most awe-inspiring. Need another reason to check it out? Try 50.

1. The structure faced harsh criticism when it opened in 1959. One critic dismissed it as "a war between architecture and painting, in which both come out badly maimed." Another called it "an indigestible hot cross bun." NYC Parks Commissioner Robert Moses snapped that it looked like "an inverted oatmeal dish."

2. The exterior of the museum is made of gunite, a mixture of sand and cement that is sprayed on the inside of a wood and steel frame, which is later removed.

3. Curator Hilla Rebay, a German baroness, chose the museum's architect. Some theorize that she selected Wright, a renowned American visionary, to pacify critics who accused her of favoring European creative minds over American ones.

4. To design the museum, Wright created more than 700 sketches.

5. The shape of the building is a play on a ziggurat, type of ancient Mesopotamian temple that narrowed as it rose. In Wright's design, the building widens as it rises.

6. Wright wanted the building to have curved surfaces to convey "an atmosphere on the unbroken wave." He was adamant that there be no distractions, not even carpeting or curtains.

7. As for the unusual look of the building, Wright proclaimed, "It's going to make the Metropolitan look like a Protestant barn."

8. Twenty-one artists drew up a petition to complain about Wright's corkscrew-shaped design, fearing that the curved walls and ramp floor would make it impossible to hang their paintings level.

9. The building was named a landmark in 1990, one of the youngest ever to earn the distinction.

10. In 1992, an adjoining rectangular 10-story tower, taller than the original spiral, was added to the museum.

11. During the recent exterior restoration, it was discovered that the museum had first been painted tan and that its light gray color had been added later. After some debate, the restorers stuck with the light gray.

12. Wednesday night, the Empire State Building will be lit "Guggenheim red" in celebration of the museum's anniversary. Early on, Wright wanted the museum to be crimson, which he described as "the color of creation." Rebay wrote back, "Red is a color which displeases [founder Solomon Guggenheim] as much as it does me."

13. It took $3 million to build Wright's structure. The restoration of the exterior between 2005 and 2008 cost $29 million.

14. In one of Wright's original concepts, visitors to the museum would have been whisked via glass-tube elevator to the top of the building, where they could relax in a garden under a glass dome and then stroll down the ramp to view the art.

15. Neither Guggenheim nor Wright lived to see the building completed. Guggenheim died 10 years before the museum's opening. Wright missed it by six months. (His widow later said he wouldn't have attended anyway because he was offended by minor modifications to the design.)

16. Attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 21, 1959, were the U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Arthur Flemming, United Nations Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge and New York City Mayor Robert Wagner.

17. Some 16,000 people visited the museum on opening day.


18. Art collector Guggenheim got his taste in modern paintings from his trusted adviser Rebay - more formally, Baroness Hilla Rebay von Ehrenwiesen - who was 29 years his junior. She was his confidante and, according to some, his lover.

19. Before founding the museum, Guggenheim displayed paintings in his eight-room suite at the Plaza Hotel. Some Old Masters, the first pieces he had bought, were relegated to his wife's bedroom.

20. Rebay steered Guggenheim toward "nonobjective" art - art that does not depict any physical object. For example, an abstract Picasso painting of a woman is not nonobjective, but the blocks of color on a Mondrian canvas are.

21. An artist herself, Rebay was commissioned to paint a portrait of Guggenheim in 1928. She was paid $9,000.

22. An early version of the museum was housed at 24 E. 54th St., where it was called the Museum of Non-Objective Painting. The gallery featured plush carpeting, burning incense, and a soundtrack of Bach and Chopin. The paintings were hung close to the floor so that they could be viewed by seated visitors.

23. One of the guards at the Museum of Non-Objective Painting was Robert De Niro Sr., father of the movie star.

24. The first show at the Museum of Non-Objective Painting was called "The Art of Tomorrow" and featured paintings by Wassily Kandinsky and Rudolf Bauer. Bauer was Rebay's lover.

25. Rebay served as the curator of Guggenheim's collection until shortly after his death, when she was expelled from the board of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, in part for her "tempestuous" personality.

26. Guggenheim was the fourth of seven brothers.

27. The Guggenheims made their money in mining, and Solomon spent his early career overseeing silver, lead and copper mines owned by his family. In 1906, he went to Alaska to found the Yukon Gold Co.

28. Solomon and his wife, Irene, were known for their opulent lifestyle. In addition to their suite at the Plaza, they had an estate called Trillora Court on Long Island where servants wore livery and stood behind the guests' chairs at dinner.

29. Guggenheim left his foundation $10 million. That's the equivalent of more than $70 million today.

30. In 1998, the spiral ramp was turned into a giant parking garage for "The Art of the Motorcycle," an exhibit that displayed 114 classic bikes, including the first motorized bicycle, a Michaux-Perreaux Steam Velocipede from 1868 with wood-rimmed wheels.

31. Last year, an installation by artist Carsten Holler titled "Revolving Hotel Room" allowed guests to stay overnight in the museum. The piece included a bed and other furniture mounted on slowly revolving discs. Guests who paid the fee were provided with towels, robes and a continental breakfast. Actress Chloe Sevigny nabbed the first night's stay.

32. One of Guggenheim's favorite painters was Kandinsky he bought more than 150 works by the artist. An exhibition of Kandinsky's work is on view at the museum through the end of the year.

33. Guggenheim helped the Russian-Jewish artist Marc Chagall flee Europe in 1941.

34. In 2004, director George Lucas unveiled a new cut of his sci-fi film "THX-1138" at the museum.

35. A photograph of a nude 10-year-old Brooke Shields, titled "Spiritual America," appeared as part of a 2007 exhibit. This month, an exhibit at Britain's Tate Modern was shut down for including the same photo amid charges of obscenity.

36. Guggenheim's niece, Peggy, was also a collector, and ran a New York gallery. The famous painter Jackson Pollock once worked there as a carpenter.

37. Some of Peggy's art collection was installed in her villa in Venice, which is now a museum itself.

38. One of Andy Warhol's final works, his series "The Last Supper," was displayed at the Guggenheim's satellite museum in SoHo, which has since closed.

39. Every year, the museum presents works by students in Learning Through Art, a program that sends professional teaching artists into the NYC public elementary schools. The annual exhibit is called "A Year With Children." Last year, approximately 1,500 students in grades 2 through 6 took part.

40. A 1912 watercolor by Chagall was stolen in the 1960s and later sold by an art dealer to New York collectors, who got to keep it after a settlement with the museum.

41. In 2006, Goya's 1778 painting "Children With a Cart" was stolen while en route to the museum for an exhibition of Spanish paintings. It was recovered by the FBI and went on display again in 2007.


42. In the thriller "The International," Clive Owen's character takes part in a shootout in the Guggenheim rotunda. To film the scene, a replica of the interior was built to scale in a stage near Berlin.

43. The museum hosts popular parties called Art After Dark on the first Friday of each month, with drinks and dancing late into the night ($25 info at

44. The block of East 89th St. that runs by the museum between Fifth and Madison is named Fred Lebow Place after the founder of the New York City Marathon.

Watch the video: The Ting Tings - Guggenheim Audio (January 2023).

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