Masterpieces of the Guggenheim Showcased in Newly Renovated Galleries

Masterpieces of The Guggenheim Museum Showcased In Newly Renovated Galleries 


Iconic Works by Cézanne, Degas, Delaunay, Gauguin, Léger, Manet, Miró, Mondrian, Monet, Picasso, Pollock, Rothko,
and van Gogh
on View This Summer

Thannhauser and Kandinsky Galleries to Reopen Prior to the Fall Unveiling of Restored Frank Lloyd Wright Landmark

( NEW YORK, NY – May 23, 2008) – The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum will open four distinct exhibitions highlighting works selected from the museum’s permanent collection during the upcoming summer season, along with the major retrospective Louise Bourgeois (June 27 – September 28, 2008). Equally known for its landmark Frank Lloyd Wright building and its superlative permanent collection comprising Modern and contemporary art from 1867 to the present, the Guggenheim Museum will offer visitors increased access to some of the Museum’s treasures.  The exhibitions to be presented are Selections from the Collection: New York in the 1940s from June 13 – September 8; Toward Abstraction: Works on Paper from the Guggenheim Museum, from June 23 – September 8, The Thannhauser Collection, opening at the end of June, and Vasily Kandinsky: Beginnings, also opening at the end of June.

The Thannhauser Collection (Opening at the end of June)
The newly restored Thannhauser Gallery will present a selection of canvases, works on paper, and sculpture bequeathed to the museum by the important art dealer and collector Justin K. Thannhauser (1892-1976).  Representing the earliest and perhaps most iconic works in the museum’s collection, the Thannhauser holdings include significant works by Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Camille Pissarro, and Vincent van Gogh. Thannhauser’s commitment to supporting the formative careers of artists as Vasily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, and Paul Klee, and to educating the public about Modern art, paralleled the vision of the Guggenheim Foundation’s originator, Solomon R. Guggenheim.  Among Thannhauser’s gifts to the Guggenheim are such incomparable masterpieces as van Gogh’s Mountains at Saint-Rémy (1889), Manet’s Before the Mirror (1876), and close to 30 paintings and drawings by Picasso, including his seminal works La Moulin de la Galette (1900), and Woman Ironing (1904). This reinstallation of more than 30 objects of the Thannhauser Collection offers visitors the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with some of the celebrated images that comprise this illustrious collection.

Representative works from the Thannhauser Collection have been on view at the Guggenheim Museum since 1965, shortly after the collection was given to the museum. These works are rotated and installed in the Thannhauser 2 Gallery, one of the original Frank Lloyd Wright galleries known as the “Monitor” building or Small Rotunda.

On the occasion of the re-opening of this dedicated space, the Guggenheim Museum is pleased to feature the first results of the Thannhauser Frame Study, a joint project of the Curatorial and Conservation departments.  Committed to improving the overall quality and historical accuracy of the period frames in this gallery, the staff has been researching and restoring existing frames and acquiring antique examples.  Freshly restored models will support two Cézanne works on view, Still Life: Flask, Glass, and Jug (ca. 1877) and Bibémus (ca. 1894 - 95), and Picasso’s Le Moulin de la Galette (1900).  The Thannhauser Collection reinstallation is organized by Vivien Greene, Curator of 19th- and Early 20th-Century Art, and Tracey Bashkoff, Associate Curator of Exhibitions and Collections, with Megan Fontanella, Curatorial Assistant.

Vasily Kandinsky:  Beginnings (Opening at the end of June)
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation has the largest collection of works by Vasily Kandinsky in the and is one of the three largest collections in the world.  His Composition 8 (1923) was among the first paintings purchased for the museum by Solomon R. Guggenheim, and his treatises regarding non-objective painting created the premise upon which the Guggenheim Museum, formerly the Museum of Non-Objective Painting, was founded. Continuing the series of presentations drawn from this extensive resource of over 150 works by the artist, Vasily Kandinsky: Beginnings will be installed in the gallery established in 2004 specifically for the presentation of thematic and historic exhibitions of works by Kandinsky in the Guggenheim’s collection. 

This exhibition of early work will preface the upcoming full-scale Kandinsky retrospective scheduled for September 2009 – January 2010, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum .  Organized by the Guggenheim, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich , this presentation of more than 100 paintings will include a chronological survey of the artist’s work through a selection of his most important canvases, including examples from his series of Improvisations, Impressions and Compositions.

Vasily Kandinsky: Beginnings features work from the earliest years of the artist’s oeuvre, including paintings, prints, and two of his rarely shown paintings on glass.  These early works, completed shortly after Kandinsky abandoned the legal profession to become the art director of the printing firm Kušverev in Moscow in 1895, explore the artist’s associations with the leading avant-garde groups after his arrival in Munich in 1896, including Phalanx, Neue Künstlervereinigung München (New Artist’s Association of Munich), and Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider).  The prints on view demonstrate Kandinsky’s talent for working in the three classic graphic media--etching, woodcut, and lithography--and reveal his early development as an artist and theoretician. 

The exhibition also illustrates how Kandinsky’s early work was informed by recollections of his native Russia, such as the brightly-decorated furniture and votive pictures he had observed in the homes of the peasants, as well as by romantic historicism, lyric poetry, folklore and pure fantasy.  Several of the landscapes included in Vasily Kandinsky: Beginnings trace the artist’s gradual quest towards abstraction, and The Blue Mountain (1908-09), a Guggenheim classic, features the often-cited horse and rider motif of this period, which for Kandinsky also symbolized his crusade against conventional aesthetic values and his dream of a better, more spiritual future through the transformative powers of art.  This installation of Kandinsky’s early work is organized by Tracey Bashkoff, Associate Curator of Exhibitions and Collections, with Megan Fontanella, Curatorial Assistant.

Selections from the Collection:  New York in the 1940s (June 13 – September 8)
This exhibition of paintings and sculptures brings together works by artists who were working or showing in New York during the 1940s, a time of transition and exchange between generations. Selections from the Collection:   New York in the 1940s will be on view from June 13 – September 8, 2008, and is organized by Tracey Bashkoff, Associate Curator of Exhibitions and Collections. 

The Guggenheim’s newly designated Founding Collection of works acquired by the Foundation its inception in 1937 through 1949 was announced with the recent exhibition Solomon’s Gift (April 2007 – January 2008), which highlighted Guggenheim’s commitment to non-objective abstraction. Celebrating works from this same significant era, this current collection installation presents a parallel, yet alternative view of the 1940s in New York by concentrating on emergent artists, many of whom sought refuge in the city after fleeing Europe upon the outbreak of World War II.  Drawing from the Guggenheim’s extensive holdings from this period, the exhibition studies how artists in the 1940s continued to mine myth and art history for imagery that summoned the collective unconscious or spiritual authenticity.  The grouping of works on view also  articulates how the free-form automatic writing and drawing of the Surrealists gave way to the dynamic gesture of Abstract Expressionism.  Included in this focused presentation are works by artists including William Baziotes, Alexander Calder, Adolph Gottlieb, Hans Hofmann, Franz Kline, Wifredo Lam, Roberto Matta, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko.

Selections from the Collection: New York in the 1940s will complement the concurrent retrospective of Louise Bourgeois (Louise Bourgeois, June 27 – September 28, 2008) by contextualizing the era in which she arrived in New York from France.

Toward Abstraction: Works on Paper from the Guggenheim Museum (June 23 through September 8)
Culled from the museum's extensive early modernist collection of works on paper, this exhibition follows the course of the early twentieth-century avant-gardes spanning Cubism to Orphism, Expressionism, Der Blaue Reiter, Dada, and the Bauhaus, and culminating with Surrealism. The exhibition features particular proponents of each movement -- Albert Gleizes, Fernand Léger, Robert Delaunay, František Kupka, Ernst Kirchner, Kurt Schwitters, Joaquín Torres-García, Franz Marc, Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian, László Moholy-Nagy and Joan Miró -- to reflect the in-depth holdings of the Guggenheim’s collection of works from these eras.  With over 60 compositions on paper included, this selection offers viewers varied interpretations of abstraction from more than 25 artists who represent the museum’s historic and continued commitment to European modernism.

Toward Abstraction: Works on Paper from the Guggenheim Museum is organized by Vivien Greene, Tracey Bashkoff, and Karole Vail, Assistant Curator. 

Education Programs
A full schedule of educational programs will be presented under the auspices of the Sackler Center for Arts Education during the run of these exhibitions, including many programs planned in conjunction with concurrent exhibitions Louise Bourgeois, A Life In Pictures:  Louise Bourgeois and Imageless:  The Scientific Study and Experimental Treatment of an Ad Reinhardt Black Painting.  For updated information regarding all programs and admission, contact the Box Office at 212 423 3587 or visit

Admission and Museum Hours
Admission is $18 for adults, $15 for students and seniors (65+). Children under 12 are free. Included in the price of admission is a complimentary audio guide to the permanent collection offered in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. The museum is open Saturday to Wednesday, 10 AM to 5:45 PM; Friday, 10 AM to 7:45 PM. The museum is closed on Thursday. On Friday evenings beginning at 5:45 PM, the museum hosts Pay What You Wish; these tickets cannot be purchased in advance. For general information, please call 212 423 3500 or visit

Updated June 3, 2008
May 23, 2008

Lauren Van Natten, Senior Publicist
Claire Laporte, Media Relations Associate
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
212 423 3840

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