Solomon Robert Guggenheim
Solomon Robert Guggenheim (1861–1949)
Solomon R. Guggenheim was one of ten children born to Meyer and Barbara (Meyers) Guggenheim. In 1847 the family emigrated from Switzerland to Philadelphia. Meyer worked his way up from a peddler to a merchant and manufacturer. In 1879 Meyer Guggenheim invested in a silver mine, and soon owned silver, lead, and copper mines.
Along with several of his brothers, Solomon was actively involved in the Guggenheim family mining businesses. Known as a courageous young man, he was very receptive to new ideas and new ways of doing things. In 1895, Solomon Guggenheim married Irene Rothschild; together, they had three daughters. Irene Rothschild Guggenheim was interested in art, and it was she who convinced her husband to collect, at first focusing on “old master” paintings.
In 1929 Irene commissioned a newly arrived German painter named Hilla Rebay to paint her husband Solomon’s portrait. Solomon visited Rebay’s studio in Carnegie Hall, where the walls were hung with non-objective paintings. While Rebay painted Guggenheim’s portrait, she taught him about non-objective art. She later wrote, “Guggenheim, who had been collecting paintings by old masters for many years… saw a non-objective painting, a watercolor by Rudolf Bauer. ‘By Jove, this is beautiful,’ was his immediate reaction.”
In the summer of 1929, Hilla Rebay and Mr. and Mrs. Guggenheim traveled to Europe, where they visited the studios of many artists who were painting non-objective art. During that trip, Guggenheim purchased his first piece of non-objective art: Vasily Kandinsky’s Composition 8 (1923). By 1930, Guggenheim owned art by Kandinsky, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Marc Chagall, Fernand Léger, Robert Delaunay, Amedeo Modigliani, and Georges Seurat, among others, and had decided to start his own museum.
A Long-Awaited Tribute: Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian House and Pavilion
July 27, 2012–Ongoing
This presentation, comprised of selected materials from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Archives, pays homage to the first Frank Lloyd Wright–designed structures in New York City.
Works & Process
Plan Your Visit
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Avenue
(at 89th Street)
New York, NY 10128-0173
Hours & Ticketing
Sun 10 am–5:45 pm
Mon 10 am–5:45 pm
Tue 10 am–5:45 pm
Wed 10 am–5:45 pm
Fri 10 am–5:45 pm
Sat 10 am–7:45 pm
See Plan Your Visit for more information on ticketing.
Students and Seniors (65 years +) with valid ID $18
Children 12 and under Free
Multimedia guides are free with admission.
Explore art and ideas from around the world on our Webby Award–nominated blogs.