Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, located on New York City’s Upper East Side on Fifth Avenue at 89th Street, is one of six art museums around the world run by the Guggenheim Foundation. The original of these museums, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, was begun by its namesake in 1937 with his private collection of non-objective paintings of pure abstraction as its core. It continues to be of the world’s most important modern art museums as well as an architectural icon.

Guggenheim Museum

The Building

Finding the right structure to house the Guggenheim collection was a challenge for Solomon Guggenheim. He enlisted the aid of his friend, and art enthusiast, Baroness Hilla Rebay, who chose Frank Lloyd Wright to design the museum’s building. The resulting structure is a white inverted ziggurat (a Babylonian temple with a continuous ramp to its peak). The interior is designed to resemble the inside of a nautilus shell, with one long ramp connecting the top of the museum with the base. There is a skylight at the top, giving the galleries a open and light-filled atmosphere.

The building was highly controversial when it was completed in 1959. Opponents thought the modern structure too avante garde for the staid and traditional Upper East Side. Art enthusiasts argued that the building, itself, was too much of a work of art and that, as such, detracted from the art hanging on the walls. Neither Solomon Guggenheim nor Frank Lloyd Wright lived to see the building’s completion, but it has come to be regarded as the most important of Wright’s later designs.

The Collection

The permanent collection at New York’s Guggenheim Museum encompasses a broad range of modern masters, from the late 19th century to the present. A majority of that period’s famous artists are represented, from Impressionists Cézanne, Pissarro, and Degas to Post-Impressionists Van Gogh, Seurat, and Gauguin to mid-20th century masters Pollock, Rothko, and Rauschenberg. Particularly well represented are the work of Piet Mondrian and Wassily Kandinsky, as Mr. Guggenheim was an early collector of both artists.

In addition to the permanent collection, the Guggenheim hosts a regular schedule of temporary exhibits, drawn from museums and private collections all over the world. Recent shows have included Mondrian to Ryman: the Abstract Impulse and Watercolors by Kandinsky. Admission to the temporary exhibits is included in the standard admission.

Visiting the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim Museum in New York is easily accessible by from all over New York City. Busses and the subway run up and down Fifth Avenue and taxis are plentiful in the area. The Guggenheim is accessible for visitors who use a wheelchair.

Facilities at the museum include the Museum Café, a pleasant eatery, located in the ground floor of the rotunda, and an interesting museum shop, filled with gift items, jewelry, posters, note cards, and framed and unframed prints of the museums masterpieces.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is a must-see for any art lover visiting New York City. Not only is it filled with an astounding collection of the world’s best modern art, the building itself is a singular and delightful masterpiece.

Location: at 1071 Fifth Avenue, New York City, New York
Phone: 212-423-3500

Click here to visit Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum official website.