Monday, February 27, 2017

VISIONARIES: Creating A Modern Guggenheim: Review by Polly Guerin

Solomon R. Guggenheim with White Fugue by Rudolf Bauer
To the public cognoscenti and art world, the name Guggenheim is synonymous with the iconic Guggenheim Museum but few know that museum founder and visionary Solomon R. Guggenheim (1861-1949) only turned to contemporary art later in life, when he was 68 years old.  He once said, As it grew on me...I wished others to share my joy."
     This is a rare opportunity to view The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation's formative collection, which was subsequently shaped through major acquisitions from contemporaries who shared Guggenheim's pioneering spirit. These acquisitions include prized impressionist and early School of Paris masterworks from Justin K. Thannhauser, the expressionist inventory of emigre art dealer Karl Nierendorf, the rich holdings of abstract and Surrealist paintings and sculpture from the self-proclaimed "art addict: Peggy Guggenheim, (Venice Italy) Solomon's niece, and key examples from the estates of artists Katherine S. Dreier and Hilla Rebay, both pivotal in promoting modern art in America.
     Fortuitously museum visitors can view more than 170 modern works by nearly 70 artists, from Camille Pissarro to Jackson Pollock. Image left: Solomon R. Guggenheim standing next to Rudolf Bauer's White Fugue (Weisse Fuge, 1926-27), oil on canvas Solomon R Guggenheim Founding Collection.
    VISIONARIES: Creating a Modern Guggenheim, on view through September 6, 2017, explores the history of Avant-Garde through the museum founder and patrons who shaped the Guggenheim permanent collection. With this exhibition the Guggenheim Foundation celebrates 80 years of innovation and preservation. VISIONARIES includes a wealth of innovations of the late nineteenth through mid-twentieth centuries,, as well as the ground breaking activities of six pioneering arts patrons some of the most significant arts of their day and established the Guggenheim Foundation's identity as a forward-looking institution. VISIONARIES includes important works by celebrated artists such as Alexander Calder, Paul Cezanne, Marc Chagall, Vasily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Fernand Leger, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Vincent van Gogh.
Vasily Kandinsky 'Several Circles' 1925
HILLA REBAY and GUGGENHEIM. Having collected art privately since the 1890s, Guggenheim was ripe for fresh inspiration when he fatefully encountered the German-born artist Hilla Rebay (1890-1967). With he support of his trusted advisor, Guggenheim set aside a more traditional collecting focus to become a great champion of nonobjective art--- a strand if abstraction with spiritual aims, epitomized by the work of Vasily Kandinsky.
       The collection, amassed against the back-ground of economic crisis and war in the l930s and l940s, Guggenheim's unparalleled modern holdings formed the basis of his foundation, established 80 years ago with the goal of encouraging art, art education, and enlightenment for the public. This defining focus distinguished the eponymous foundation Guggenheim, established in New York in 1937. Two years later the Museum of Non-Objective Painting, the forerunner of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum debuted in New York. Image right:
Vasily Kandinsky, 'Several Circles' (Einige Kreise) 1926, oil on canvas, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection.

Robert Delaunay 'Circular Form' 1930

ANNIVERSARY EXHIBITION Several conservation projects have been initiated as art of the planning of this anniversary exhibition. RED LILY PADS (1956(, a painted steel sculpture by Alexander Calder, Manet's Woman in Evening Dress (1877-80) and Luciano Pensabene Buemi, Conservator of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection cleaned The Studio (L'Atelier), 1928, an oil ad crayon by Picasso. Image left: Robert Delaunay (1885-1941) Circular Forms (Formes Circulaires) 1930., oil on canvas Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection
SPECIAL EVENTS; Look-Long Wednesdays, February-August: Each Wednesday during the run of Visionaries, museum visitors have the opportunity to explore the Guggenheim collection, including one-hour focused experiences with a single work, in specialist and learning experiences. For other program schedules visit:
    Ta Ta darlings!!! I'm going to see the film PEGGY GUGGENHEIM: ART ADDICT, you should too. Shown Fridays and Saturdays, March 3-25, l pm in the New Media Theater. FREE with admission. Fan mail welcome at  Visit Polly's Blogs at and click on the Blog links in the left-hand column to fashion, men, visionaries, and poetry from the heart.

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