The Estate of James Johnson Sweeney collection
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
Sweeney, James Johnson, 1900-
Guggenheim, Harry Frank, 1890-
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
The Estate of James Johnson Sweeney was established following the death of James Johnson Sweeney (JJS) in 1986 in order to collect his writings and return relevant documents to the institutions with which he was professionally associated. JJS served as the second director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (SRGM) from 1952 to 1960. During his tenure at the SRGM, JJS expanded the scope of the museum's collection and established the Guggenheim International Award. JJS's son, Seán Sweeney, executor of the Estate, has been donating materials from the Estate's archives to the SRGM Archives.
Scope and Content Note
The Estate of James Johnson Sweeney collection spans the years 1950-1977 and documents James Johnson Sweeney's (JJS) activities as director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1952-1960). A small number of materials extend beyond his tenure at the museum. The collection consists of both personal and professional correspondence, essays written by JJS, exhibition catalogs, administrative records, financial documents, newspaper and magazine clippings, photographs, press releases, brochures, reports, and a scrapbook.
The bulk of the collection is comprised of correspondence, which includes typed and hand-written letters (originals and copies), memoranda, notes, cards, and telegrams. Though primarily written by JJS, correspondence also consists of materials either written on his behalf by museum employees or redirected to his office. Of particular note among the general correspondence are several letters between JJS and Harry F. Guggenheim (HFG) regarding JJS's attempted resignation in 1958. Congratulatory correspondence contains letters written to JJS and his responses on the occasion of the opening of the museum's Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building in October, 1959. While the majority of these letters came from casual visitors to the SRGM, offering various comments, compliments, and, occasionally, criticism, JJS also received salutations from curators and directors of national and international galleries and museums as well. Severance correspondence includes letters between JJS and HFG discussing the terms of JJS's resignation and a draft of the official press release announcing his resignation, as well as letters of support from friends, colleagues, and artists. The César correspondence consists of a several letters concerning the importation of a sculpture by César Baldaccini along with three Polaroid photographs of the piece itself. The Quadrum correspondence deals with JJS's participation in the publication of the inaugural issue of the Belgian journal devoted to modern art in 1956.
Newspaper and magazine clippings cover a number of topics and have been culled from national and international publications. These include the opening of the Frank Lloyd Wright building and the controversy surrounding its design, various SRGM exhibitions, and JJS's resignation as director. The scrapbook contains articles on the Frank Lloyd Wright building from October and November, 1959. Additionally included is a group of materials, largely correspondence, relating to the South Eastern College Art Conference of 1959, at which JJS gave the principal address.
|805022||General (4 folders)||undated, 1950-1973|
|805022||César (Baldaccini, César)||1960|
|805022||Congratulatory Letters (4 folders)||undated, 1959-1960|
|805022||Severance (4 folders)||undated, 1960-1977|
|805022||Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum Building as Exhibition Space||undated|
|805022||Some Ideas on Exhibition Installation||1959|
|805022||"Capolavori del Museo Guggenheim di New York," Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome||1957|
|805022||"Kandinsky: Peintures Provenant du Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum de New York," Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon||1958|
|805022||"Kandinsky, 1866-1944," Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo||1958|
|805022||Finance (3 folders) (restricted)||1952-1960|
|805022||Guggenheim National Section Awards Certificates (for Georges Gounaro, Ben Nicholson, and John Bratby)||1958|
|Newspaper and Magazine Clippings (8 folders)||undated, 1952-1970|
|805022||New Museum Building||undated|
|805022||Permanent Collection Artwork||undated|
|805022||"Prix Guggenheim" Exhibition at Musee Nationale D'Art Moderne||1956|
|Brochures and Invitations|
|805022||Other Institutions and Events (2 folders)||undated, 1953, 1957, 1958|
|805022||Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Exhibitions||undated, 1953|
|805022||Press Releases||undated, 1956, 1957, 1973|
|805022||Report of the Business Administrator of Present Conditions of the Museum||1950|
|Report on the Activities of the Museum of Non-Objective Painting||1949|
|805022||Staff Report (restricted)||1954|
|805022||South Eastern College Art Conference||1959|