The Guggenheim Museum is a collection of stunning modern and contemporary art. You are drawn into the art by amazing displays and a serene environment. We really enjoyed the architecture of the building which is a piece of art in itself.
Solomon R. Guggenheim began collecting art in 1890 and as he grew older modern art became his focus. He wanted to share the joy of his collection, so he opened a small museum in New York in 1939. Attendance was high at the museum, so he decided to build a bigger museum.
In 1943 Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned to create a museum for non-objective paintings for Guggenheim. Wright’s design was completed in 1959 after many delays. The museum design was considered a monument to modernism with the sleek spiral ramp going up to a domed skylight. It is truly impressive to see in person.
The outside of the museum is very unique and it draws you inside. As you walk inside you notice how light and airy it is. The walls are white with clean designs. The ramp spirals you up each floor to the top which is a glass skylight. This adds to the open, calming and bright environment.
The museum holds approximately 600 pieces of art that were given to or purchased by the museum between 1937 and 1949. In 1963 the museum received art from Justin K Thannhauser’s collection of impressionist, post-impressionist and modern French masterpieces as a permanent loan.
The Thannhauser pieces added to the museum’s collection and allowed it to tell the story of modern art from its 19th-century roots.
Additional collections were added including the Panza collection which was minimalist, post-minimalist and conceptual art. The Nierendorf collection which showcased German art was also added. The foundation has received bequests from several other collectors and foundations.
All of these additions have made the collection quite diverse and impressive. We enjoyed seeing all the amazing pieces. I particularly liked some from Jackson Pollock and Claude Monet.
The experience of the Guggenheim is so much more than the art. You feel at ease in the building which has a somewhat spiritual type environment. You can tell that these pieces are treasured and that Guggenheim’s dream of sharing the joy of art has been fulfilled.
I am very happy that I got to see this unique museum. The art collection is extensive and the pieces are beautiful. Contemporary art is not my favorite type of art, but I really enjoyed seeing the diverse display. I feel I learned a lot and am grateful to be able to see these beautiful pieces up close. This is definitely a place to visit if you are in New York and is a good contrast to the MET.
“To get such beauty from something that has been produced by the artist’s own imagination, appealed to me greatly”
– Solomon R. Guggenheim
Rating (4 stars):
Pros: Unique experience, famous artwork, entertaining
Cons: Crowded, limited hours
Priority: Medium – great place for modern art
Savvy Tip: Get an audio tape to guide you, they also have guided tours
Cost: $25 adults, cheaper if purchase City Pass