The Global Guggenheim

The Global Guggenheim


First Exhibition of the Guggenheim's Holdings Since 1992, Featuring Approximately 200 Paintings, Works on Paper, and Sculptures, From New York, Venice, Bilbao, and Berlin, as well as Partner Institutions and Promised Gifts

The Global Guggenheim: Selections from the Extended Collection is the first full museum presentation of the Guggenheim Foundation's permanent collection since 1992. The exhibition brings together a highly select group of approximately 200 paintings, works on paper, and sculptures, representing Impressionism and early Modernism through Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, and Pop Art, from the foundation's extended collection. This constellation of museums, partner institutions, and private trusts includes the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin; State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg; the Gianni Mattioli Collection; and the collection of Robert Rauschenberg. Drawing from this rich array of sources, The Global Guggenheim celebrates the felicitous nature of collecting and the fortuitous circumstances that brought these works of art together. The Global Guggenheim is on view from February 9 to April 22, 2001.

This exhibition is sponsored by Fireman's Fund Insurance Company and Delta Air Lines.

"The permanent collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation constitutes the very core of the institution," said Thomas Krens, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. "Assembled over the past seventy years—and still a work-in-progress—the collection embodies the museum's own unique history, which has consistently represented and, on occasion, catalyzed the history of twentieth-century art.

"Over the past ten years, the museum has redefined itself as an international institution, expanding not only architecturally but geographically through alliances with public and private trusts around the world," continued Mr. Krens. "We are able to present only a small portion of this 'extended collection' at present, due to architectural constraints. It is my hope that the future growth of the institution will more fully accommodate the collection, making it available to New York and international audiences on a permanent basis."

"Our Company has long been recognized as a top national insurer of fine art in private homes, as well as an underwriter of galleries, art dealers and traveling exhibitions," said Dave Pollard, division president of Fireman's Fund Insurance Company. "This sponsorship transcends our interest in the financial aspects of fine art and enables the public-at-large to access the enduring aesthetic value of Guggenheim masterpieces."

"Delta is proud to sponsor this extensive collection of masterpieces from around the world," said Frederick W. Reid, Delta's executive vice president and chief marketing officer. "We look forward to our growing partnership with the Guggenheim and are enthusiastic about the opportunity to bring the inspiration of great art to all walks of life."

The Extended Collection
In recent years, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation has redefined the parameters of acquisition and ownership previously inscribed in the concept of the museum collection. With locations in New York, Venice, Bilbao, Berlin, and Las Vegas, as well as alliances with major international museums and private collections, the Guggenheim Foundation has pioneered the relationships necessary for sharing staff, programming, resources, and—foremost—art across international boundaries. One result of these innovative strategies is the "extended collection" of the Guggenheim, highlights of which are brought together for the first time in this exhibition. Together, the strengths of the foundation's collections are complementary and, at the same time, retain the unique character of the institution each represents.

Exhibition Organization and Installation
The Global Guggenheim has been organized by Carmen Giménez, Curator of Twentieth-Century Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, whose mandate was to show the breadth, diversity, and beauty of the collection, rather than a comprehensive exhibition of the museum's holdings. The exhibition spans 130 years, from 1867 to 1997. The curatorial vision began with identifying a number of artists who are represented in-depth within the museum's holdings—Kandinsky, Brancusi, Picasso, Mondrian, Klee, Dubuffet—and by anchoring each of the museum's ramps with works by one of these artists. Recent acquisitions are also featured; however, only a few have been included due to space limitations and the scale of many of the works.

Just as the origins of the Guggenheim Museum were based on the particular vision of Solomon R. Guggenheim and his advisor, Hilla Rebay, this exhibition is also, in many ways, a personal view. The exhibition has been installed to set up dialogues between seemingly unrelated works, and to suggest affinities between others. On the first ramp, Picasso's Woman Ironing (1904) is paired with Brancusi's Sorceress (1916-24), in an elegant juxtaposition of curving forms and contours. Further along the same ramp, Picasso's The Studio (1928) hangs next to Giacometti's Nose (1947), while on ramp 4, two early paintings by Mondrian, Tableau No. 2 (1913), and Composition (1916), are installed next to a Donald Judd sculpture, Untitled (1968), and a nearby Rothko, Untitled (# 18) (1963). Other combinations include a high cubist Picasso, Accordionist (summer 1911) coupled with Pollock's Enchanted Forest (1947); and Joan Miró's Landscape (The Hare) (Autumn 1927) with Francis Bacon's Three Studies for a Crucifixion (1962).

History of the Collection
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation's collection is essentially based on six very different private collections: Solomon R. Guggenheim's collection of nonobjective paintings; Justin K. and Hilde Thannhauser's array of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and early Modern masterpieces; Karl Nierendorf's collection of German Expressionism; Katherine S. Dreier's holdings of Alexander Archipenko, Constantin Brancusi, and Piet Mondrian; Peggy Guggenheim's collection, concentrating equally on abstraction and Surrealism; and Giuseppe Panza di Biumo's vast holdings of American Minimalist and Conceptual art of the 1960s and 1970s. These contributions have been augmented through the years by the Guggenheim's directors and curators to form a single collection that is not encyclopedic, but rather, based on the unique and passionate visions of individuals.

In 1937, Solomon R. Guggenheim established the original core of the museum's collection with his gift of a large number of works by Vasily Kandinsky, as well as paintings by the great names of Cubism and its successor movements, which Guggenheim purchased under the guidance of Hilla Rebay, the museum's first director. Masterworks from Solomon's collection that will be presented in The Global Guggenheim include Kandinsky's Blue Mountain (1908-09), Fernand Léger's The Smokers (1911-12), Pablo Picasso's Accordionist (1911), and Robert Delaunay's Eiffel Tower (1911).

With the museum's purchase of the Karl Nierendorf Estate in 1948, the collection's focus was expanded to include figurative works by artists such as Oskar Kokoschka, as well as many important paintings and works on paper by Paul Klee. This major acquisition ushered in a new era under the directorship of James Johnson Sweeney, who changed the museum's name from the Museum of Non-Objective Art to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1952. Under Sweeney, the museum acquired eleven sculptures by Brancusi, making the Guggenheim a major repository of the artist's work. Sculptures by Archipenko, Alexander Calder, and Alberto Giacometti, as well as paintings by Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock, also enriched the collection. Thomas Messer, who succeeded Sweeney in 1961, added important works by Calder, Jean Dubuffet, Klee, Joan Miró, and David Smith.

One of the most pivotal groups of artworks to enter the foundation was the Thannhauser Collection, a suite of 75 early Modern masterpieces, which belonged to German dealer and collector Justin K. Thannhauser. This collection expanded the museum's holdings to include seminal works from the 1860s to the early 1900s, by such artists as Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Edouard Manet, Pablo Picasso, and Camille Pissarro. The Thannhauser collection came to the museum on permanent loan in 1963 and was bequeathed in 1976; the gift was subsequently augmented by donations from his widow Hilde. Paintings from the Thannhauser collection are integrated into The Global Guggenheim, including Pissarro's The Hermitage at Pontoise (ca. 1867) and Picasso's Woman Ironing (1904).

In 1976, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, consisting of works collected by Solomon's niece Peggy and housed in the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni in Venice, was transferred to the foundation's auspices. Works in this collection mark critical moments in the evolution of 20th-century art, particularly Surrealism and early Abstract Expressionism. In The Global Guggenheim, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is represented by Max Ernst's The Antipope (1941-42), René Magritte's Voice of Space (1931), Jackson Pollock's Enchanted Forest (1947), among others. The Gianni Mattioli Collection of early-20th-century Italian art, on long-term loan to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, includes such Futurist masterpieces as Umberto Boccioni's Dynamism of a Cyclist (1913).

In 1991, the Guggenheim Foundation acquired the Panza Collection of Minimal and Conceptual art of the 1960s and 1970s, laying the foundation for the museum's contemporary holdings. This group of over 300 works, which belonged to Italian collectors Guiseppe and Giovanna Panza di Biumo, builds on the Guggenheim's tradition of collecting in depth, containing significant concentrations of work by Richard Serra, Robert Morris, and Robert Ryman. Carl Andre's Zinc Ribbon (1969), Ryman's Allied (1966), and Serra's Close Pin Prop (1969), all featured in The Global Guggenheim, are part of the Panza Collection.

Under the leadership of Thomas Krens, director since 1988, the Guggenheim has taken groundbreaking steps to extend the geographic scope of the foundation's collections, special exhibitions, and programming. In 1992, the Guggenheim Museum SoHo opened as a space dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary art, with a particular emphasis on work exploring new media and technology. The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, which opened in 1997, focuses on collecting art of the post-war era and large-scale contemporary works, which the Frank Gehry-designed building's spacious, high-ceilinged galleries readily accommodate. De Kooning's Villa Borghese (1960), Yves Klein's Large Blue Anthropometry (ANT 105) (ca. 1960), and Andy Warhol's One Hundred and Fifty Multi-Colored Marilyns (1979) are among the works from the Bilbao collection included in The Global Guggenheim. The foundation's reach was extended further with the 1997 opening of the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin, the result of a collaboration with Deutsche Bank. This fifth Guggenheim commissions works by contemporary artists which enter the permanent collection. Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin commissioned James Rosenquist's series of paintings, The Swimmer in the Econo-mist (1997-98), a section of which is on view in The Global Guggenheim.

In June 2000, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, announced a groundbreaking partnership aimed at bringing each institution's collections to a wider audience. On the occasion of The Global Guggenheim, the Hermitage has lent four Modern masterpieces by Derain, Matisse, and Picasso. The inclusion of works from the Hermitage in The Global Guggenheim also offers a preview to the upcoming exhibition, Masterpieces and Master Collectors: Impressionist and Modern Paintings from the Hermitage and Guggenheim Museums, which opens at the Guggenheim-Hermitage Museum in Las Vegas in the fall of 2001. The Guggenheim-Hermitage Museum and Guggenheim Las Vegas, currently under construction, will bring the two institutions' collections, as well as Guggenheim special exhibitions, to a wider audience.

In 1997, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum combined resources and jointly purchased Rauschenberg's monumental work, Barge (1963). This important work is considered the climax of Rauschenberg's silkscreen series. Installed in the Guggenheim's Tower 5 gallery, Barge combines autobiographical references and mass-media images with gestural passages of paint. This gallery will also present a combination of works from the museum's collection and that of the artist's, in recognition of a promised gift of 2000 works from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. With this major gift (which will be consummated upon the completion of the proposed new Guggenheim in New York), the Guggenheim will become a major repository of the artist's work in all mediums: painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, photography, and performance.

The Global Guggenheim includes several of the foundation's newest acquisitions on display for the first time in New York. A centerpiece of The Global Guggenheim is a monumental painting by Anselm Kiefer, Les Reines de France (1995), exhibited in the Guggenheim's High Gallery. Measuring over 18 by 24 feet, Les Reines de France incorporates such diverse materials as acrylic paint, sunflower seeds, photographs, gold-leaf, and cardboard. Recently acquired works on paper by such artists as Joseph Beuys, Louise Bourgeois, Francesco Clemente, Jim Dine, and Rauschenberg will also be on view. Contemporary painting, sculpture, installation, and new media work—the largest area of collection growth—cannot be exhibited to their fullest potential in the landmark Frank Lloyd Wright building, which was designed to showcase traditional easel painting.

Simultaneous with The Global Guggenheim, the Guggenheim museums in Bilbao, Venice, and Berlin have dedicated their entire spaces to the presentation of works from the permanent collections. These installations will be on view on video monitors throughout the exhibition.

By broadening its geographic scope and forging worldwide alliances, the Guggenheim Foundation has redefined the concept of the permanent collection. With its extended collection, the Guggenheim Foundation is now uniquely positioned to participate in, rather than merely represent, visual culture around the globe. The Global Guggenheim: Selections from the Extended Collection, the first collection exhibition since the formation of the Guggenheim's network of international museums and alliances, celebrates the foundation's history and potential for future growth, as embodied by the collection itself.

On the occasion of The Global Guggenheim, the museum has published new editions of two major publications, both with significant new scholarship: Guggenheim Museum Collection: A to Z, edited by Nancy Spector, Curator of Contemporary Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (hardcover $29.95, softcover $19.95); and Thannhauser: The Thannhauser Collection of the Guggenheim Museum, edited by Matthew Drutt, Associate Curator for Research, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (hardcover $45.00, softcover $32.00). (distributed by Harry N. Abrams, Inc.).

Public Programs
The following programs are held at the Guggenheim Museum and are free with museum admission, unless otherwise noted. For updated information regarding ticketed programs, contact the Box Office at (212) 423-3587, or go to

Tours and Lectures
"A Curatorial Eye" presents curators offering intimate guided tours of the exhibitions they helped to create. Tours will be conducted on Friday, March 16 at 2 pm by Tracey Bashkoff, Assistant Curator, and on Friday, March 23, at 2 pm by Bridget Alsdorf, Collections Curatorial Assistant. Each tour is limited to 20 people, with reservations taken at the information desk 30 minutes prior to the start of the program. Hour-long docent tours of The Global Guggenheim will be given from February 11 to April 22, Sunday through Wednesday and Friday at 12 pm, 2 pm, and 4 pm.

Film Programs
In conjunction with The Global Guggenheim, CinéKids, the Guggenheim's new ongoing children's film series, will present Show and Tell: Curious Collections on Saturday, April 14, at 12:00 pm. Discussions and related activities will follow the screening. Admission is $5 for each child accompanied by one free adult, and $5 for each additional adult. One chaperone is required for every four children. This program is recommended for children ages 7 to 12. To reserve tickets, please call (212) 423-3587 or email

Family Programs
Two family tours will be featured in conjunction with The Global Guggenheim. On Saturday, February 24, at noon, Collecting: The International Museum will introduce children and their adult companions to the exhibition and explore how a museum creates a permanent collection around the world. On Sunday, April 1, at noon, Architecture of The Global Guggenheim will introduce families to the architects behind the many Guggenheim Museums and will examine the model for the Project for a New Guggenheim Museum in New York City, designed by Frank O. Gehry.

Audio Tour
The audio tour, featuring highlights of The Global Guggenheim, will be narrated by Academy Award-winning actor F. Murray Abraham.

Guggenheim and CityPass Program
CityPass, a visitor program which offers admission to six of New York's most celebrated cultural attractions for a discounted package price, now features the Guggenheim Museum. CityPass may be purchased at the Guggenheim. The cost is $32 for adults, $21.75 for seniors, $24 for youth (12-17).

Admission and Museum Hours
Admission is $12 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at the museum or in advance through The museum is open Sunday to Wednesday, 9 am to 6 pm, and Friday and Saturday, 9 am to 8 pm. The museum is closed on Thursday.

December 18, 2000

For Press Information: Betsy Ennis/Sasha Nicholas
Department of Public Affairs
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Telephone: (212) 423-3840
Telefax: (212) 423-3787

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