The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum External of modern and contemporary art opened in New York City on October 21, 1959. Designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the modern structure marked a bold departure from traditional museum design. Its exhibition space features a spiraling six-story ramp that encircles an open center space lit by a glass dome.
Solomon R. Guggenheim (1861-1949), son of Swiss immigrant and mining tycoon Meyer Guggenheim, began to compile a significant collection of modern art in the late 1920s, with the assistance of his art advisor Hilla Rebay, herself an artist, and an enthusiastic proponent of abstract painting.
In 1937, Guggenheim established the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation to promote art and art education, and began to explore the idea of creating a museum. He commissioned Wright to design a building, but Wright died before construction was completed in 1959.
The Guggenheim Museum’s collection of modern and contemporary art includes works by artists such as Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957), Alexander Calder (1898-1976), Marc Chagall (1887-1985), Paul Klee (1879-1940), and Pablo Picasso (1881-1973).
- The Gottscho-Schleisner Collection is the work of two architectural photographers, Samuel L. Gottscho (1875-1971) and William H Schleisner (1912-62). It includes detailed photographs of public and private buildings throughout the nation with an emphasis on New York and the Northeast. The collection includes several images of the Guggenheim under construction. Search the collection using terms such as galleries and museums, art exhibition, or art gallery, or browse the subject index, to find more photographs of the interiors and exteriors of particular museums and galleries.
- To find additional art-related images, search across the Library’s pictorial collections more generally, using terms such as Frank Lloyd Wright and galleries and museums, art exhibitions, artist studio or on terms for various artistic media such as drawing, printmaking, and sculpture.
- To learn more about the architect of the Guggenheim, Frank Lloyd Wright, visit the Library of Congress online exhibition Frank Lloyd Wright: Designs for an American Landscape, 1922-1932 and then consult the Prints and Photographs Division’s guide: Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings Recorded by the Historic American Buildings Survey.