Collection on the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Guggenheim, Peggy, 1898-1979.
Guggenheim, Solomon R. (Solomon Robert), 1861-1949.
Interior Architecture -- New York (State) -- New York.
Morley, Grace L. McCann, 1900-1985.
Public Buildings -- New York (N. Y.)
Rebay, Hilla, 1890-1967.
Thiele, Albert E., 1892-1982.
Wright, Frank Lloyd, 1867-1959.
Initially commissioned to paint a portrait of Solomon R. Guggenheim (SRG) in 1927, Hilla Rebay (HR) struck up a friendship with him that endured until his death. Following HR's guidance, the art collection of SRG increased substantially. This partnership led to the birth of the Museum of Non-Objective Painting in 1939. Located at 24 East 54th Street in a rented space transformed by HR and architect William Muschenheim, only the purest examples of non-objective art were exhibited. HR commenced a campaign in 1943 to construct a building to serve as home and monument to the art collection accrued by SRG. In 1943, Frank Lloyd Wright (FLW) accepted the commission to create new accommodations for the growing collection. From 1957 to 1956, the collection temporarily resided in a six story mansion on a plot of land purchased by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation (SRGF) between East 88th and East 89th Streets on Fifth Avenue. It was relocated once more to a townhouse on 7 East 72nd Street before the final move to the completed building. Neither FLW nor SRG would live to see the finished museum. Following SRG's death in 1949, the name of the museum was officially changed to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (SRGM). In 1952, HR resigned as the director of the museum. She was succeeded by James Johnson Sweeney (JJS), former director of the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art.
October 21, 1959, the construction was completed and the SRGM opened to the public. The following year JJS resigned. The third director, Thomas M. Messer (TMM), was selected in 1961. During his tenure, he increased the exhibition and publishing activities of the museum, as well as continued his predecessor's labors to modernize and professionalize the administrative organization and museum staff. The SRGF received a sizable accretion in 1963 when a portion of Justin K. Thannhauser's collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Modern French masterpieces were permanently loaned to the museum.
In response to spatial limitation for exhibitions and staff, Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects were commissioned in 1982 to design a solution. They planned to replace the existing small rotunda designed by Wright's son-in-law, William Wesley Peters, with tower that had been a part of FLW's plans for the museum in the 1940s. TMM resigned in 1988 before the expansion project could be finished. His successor, Thomas Krens (TK) continued his mission of expansion and renovation of the museum. While preparations for construction developed, New York City's Landmark Preservation Commission awarded the FLW building landmark status in 1989.
1992 witnessed the reopening of the SRGM after the completion of the expansion and restoration work and the opening of the Guggenheim Soho building, no longer operational. TK endeavored to give the museum an international presence by opening branches in Berlin and Bilbao. From 2005 through 2007, Lisa Dennison (LD) served as the director of the SRGM, while TK continued in the role of director of the SRGF. LD worked toward local recognition of the museum as a New York cultural resource and international development of the museum's goals. TK briefly resumed the director position following LD's departure until his resignation in February 2008. As of 2009, TK works with the SRGF as the Senior Advisor for International Affairs. Richard Armstrong, former Director of the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, became director of SRGM and SRGF in 2008. In 2013, the Frank Gehry designed Abu Dhabi Guggenheim Museum, developed under the guidance of TK, will open.
Scope and Content Note
The Collection on the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum spans the years 1939-2004 and documents the construction of the Frank Lloyd Wright building at 1071 Fifth Avenue; the additions to the building, such as the Aye Simon Reading Room; the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission; and the 1992 restoration by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects. Additionally the collection includes documents relating to directors Hilla Rebay, Thomas Messer, Thomas Krens. The collection files are arranged alphabetically in one series, but divided into three groups: Building History, Directors, and Institutional History. A portion of the material in the collection is undated. The records in this collection were compiled by the Guggenheim Museum Archives.
The Building History files span 1953-2001 and include information on the planning and construction of the 1071 Fifth Avenue building, Aye Simon Reading Room, Peter B. Lewis Theater, the Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects 1992 restoration, the Soho museum building, and the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The document types included in this group are correspondence, pamphlets, photographs, and newspaper clippings. They pertain to the original Frank Lloyd Wright building and Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects expansion and restoration.
The Directors and Assistant Directors group spans 1938-1992 and contains files on Hilla Rebay, Thomas Messer, Thomas Krens, and Grace L. Morley McCann, including correspondence, biographical information, newspaper clippings, and photographs of the directors and works of art.
The Institutional History files span 1936-1998 and include biographies of the Guggenheim family and other key figures, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, who were important to the development of the museum. Additionally the files contain an institutional chronology; exhibitions and publications awards and history from 1936 to 2004; staff information; and information on select trustees of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.
|1071 Fifth Avenue (Frank Lloyd Wright)|
|786542||1||Architecture Fact Sheets||undated|
|Aye Simon Reading Room|
|786542||3||List of Materials||undated, 2001|
|786542||6||Richard Meier Gift (restricted)||1980|
|Peter B. Lewis Theater|
|786542||11||Photographs: Interior and Frank Lloyd Wright Rendering of Exterior||1949, 1953|
|786542||13||An Overview of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum||undated|
|786542||14||"Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum" (Civil Engineer Student Paper)||1959|
|Gwathmey-Siegel Restoration (1992)|
|786542||18||Family Activity Guide||1998|
|786542||19||Photographs: Exterior and Interior||undated, 1992|
|786542||20||Publication: "A History of Changes"||undated|
|786542||21||Publicity||undated, 1987, 1991-1992|
|786542||22||Renovation and Addition Plans||1985|
|786542||24||Landmarks Preservation Commission||1989-1990|
|Directors and Assistant Directors|
|786542||28||Biographical Information||undated, 1988-1989|
|786542||30||Newspaper Articles and Clippings||1988-1989|
|786542||31||Biographical Information||undated, 1978-1979|
|786542||32||Calendar of Events of Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, November-December 1987||1987|
|786542||33||Newspaper and Magazine Clippings||undated|
|786542||35||Morley, Grace L. McCann: Newspaper Clipping||undated|
|786542||36||Biographical Information||undated, 1979|
|786542||37||Correspondence (Archives Copies)||1938, 1940-1941, 1943-1947, 1949-1954|
|786542||39||Guggenheim Financial Issues Concerning Rebay (restricted)||1952|
|786542||40||Guggenheim Museum Tribute to First Director||undated|
|786542||41||Hilla von Rebay Foundation||1974-1975, 1978|
|786542||42||Insurance Values (restricted)||1939|
|786542||43||List of Works from the Hilla Rebay Collection||undated|
|786542||44||Newspaper Articles and Clippings||1937-1984|
|786542||45||Hilla Rebay||1930s, 1947|
|786542||46||Works Owned by Hilla Rebay||undated|
|786542||47||Publication: "Hilla Rebay: In Search of the Spirit in Art": Photocopy||undated|
|786542||49||Biographies: Guggenheim Family and Key Figures||undated|
|Exhibitions and Publications|
|786542||53||Appointments and Departures||1961-1964|
|786542||55||Newspaper Clippings||undated, 1964|
|786542||56||Salaries (restricted)||circa 1960|
|786542||57||Arnason, H. Harvard||undated|
|786542||58||Gross, Mason Welch||1971|
|786542||59||Newlin, A. Chauncey||1972|
|786542||60||Thiele, Albert E.||1982|