About the Collection
The collection of artwork on show at the Guggenheim Museum is essentially a combination of several private collections. These collections have been further expended over the past 20 years or so by the acquisitions and partnerships leading to the founding of three other Guggenheim Museums across the world.
Guggenheim in New York
The Museum of Non-Objective Painting opened in 1939 at 24 East 54th Street showcasing the private collection of Solomon R Guggenheim. Since that time the museum was renamed in honour of its founder and moved in 1959 to the iconic building on Fifth Avenue designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The building today holds around 600 pieces of art from the Guggenheim collection.
The museum was enriched when in 1963 a portion of Justin K Thannhauser’s collection was presented to the museum as a permanent loan. The collection includes impressionist, post-impressionist and modern French masterpieces. The collection of paintings and sculptures was further expanded by his widow and in 1991 the Guggenheim Museum was able to tell the story of modern art from its beginnings in the 19th century.
The collection of Giuseppe Panza di Biumo was added in 1990 through to 1992 through gifts and purchases adding another 350 pieces of minimalist, post-minimalist and conceptual art. It is regarded as one of the finest collections of American art from the 1960s and 1970s.
Karl Nierendorf Estate
The entire collection of the New York art dealer was purchased in 1948 following his death the previous year. This collection gave the Guggenheim an important addition in German and Austrian expressionism.
Katherine S. Dreier Bequest
The small but important bequest in 1953 of 33 pieces of art was received from one of the most influential figures of 20th century art Katherine S Dreyer. Together with Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray they were the founders of Societe Anonyme.
The museum’s collections also include that of Hilla Rebay, the museum’s first director and curator. Robert Mapplethorpe’s Foundation Gift of photographs and unique objects in 1992, and the Bohen Foundation Gift in 2001, a collection of 275 works by 45 artists.