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A Handbook to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Collection
James Johnson Sweeney
Published in 1959
272 pages, fully illustrated
Published in the same year that Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural landmark opened its doors, A Handbook to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum provides a glimpse into the scope of the museum collection during a pivotal moment in the museum's history. The introduction, written by former Director James Johnson Sweeney, gives an account of recent acquisitions and a brief history of the Guggenheim collection. The handbook is organized into three sections: paintings, sculptures, and works on paper, such as watercolors and drawings. The sculpture collection, which had only begun being acquired by the museum in 1952, reveals a significant expansion and diversification of the permanent collection. The handbook also includes brief descriptions for each artist along with black-and-white photographs of important works, providing a broad cross section of the collection on the museum's opening day.
Today the Collection is still in a sense "in formation"; and, in the spirit of its founder, it is hoped that it will always continue to be so. It should be a vital organism, reflective of the highest creativity of the period. As such it can never become a mere repository. It should be an active agent provoking public interest in what its Board and its staff feel is the most deserving of its attention, study and emulation on the contemporary esthetic scene.