17 Guggenheim Museum Facts that will amaze you!

Guggenheim Museum or otherwise known as Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is a museum which not only stores art but is an art as well. It was criticised for its unusual and modern design but now is an inspiration to many architects. A monument completely in contrast to the strict Manhattan grid. Here are 17 not so known Guggenheim Museum Facts which will amaze you!

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1) The Guggenheim Museum, New York City, was established in 1939 as the Museum of Non-Objective Painting by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, under the guidance of its first director, Hilla von Rebay.

Guggenheim Museum, New York, Usa, Art, Gray News

2) Another important Guggenheim Museum Facts is after the death of its founder, it was renamed the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1952.

3) Architect Frank Lloyd Wright was asked to design the structure of the museum. Wright accepted the offer, however It took him 15 years, 700 sketches, and six sets of working drawings to finally create the museum.

A picture of Museum being constructed
The museum under construction in photo taken on Nov. 12, 1957


4) On October 21, 1959, ten years after the death of Solomon Guggenheim and six months after the death of Frank Lloyd Wright, the Museum first opened its doors to the public.

Picture showing Frank Lloyd Wright, Hilla Rebay, and Solomon R. Guggenheim with a model of the building.
Frank Lloyd Wright, Hilla Rebay, and Solomon R. Guggenheim with a model of the building.


5) When the Guggenheim museum first opened, the cost of admission was 50 cents.

6) The structure faced harsh criticism when it opened in 1959. One critic dismissed it as “a war between architecture and painting, in which both come out badly maimed.” Another called it “an indigestible hot cross bun.” NYC Parks Commissioner Robert Moses said that it looked like “an inverted oatmeal dish.”

7) The Guggenheim’s surface was made out of concrete to reduce the cost, inferior to the stone finish that Wright had wanted.

An image of Guggenheim Museum
New York, Guggenheim, Museum, Contemporary Art


8) Frank Lloyd Wright first proposed red marble for the museum facade. He said, “Red is the colour of creation”.

9) The first show held at the Museum was called “The Art of Tomorrow” and featured paintings by Wassily Kandinsky and Rudolf Bauer.

A picture showing Solomon R. Guggenheim, Hilla Rebay, and Frank Lloyd Wright in front of Bauer's painting "White Fugue", 1930s.
Solomon R. Guggenheim, Hilla Rebay, and Frank Lloyd Wright in front of Bauer’s painting “White Fugue”, 1930s.


10) Although the Guggenheim’s space within the building is majestic and the building itself is monumental, it was not perfectly successful in terms of function. The paintings were very difficult to display because of the concavity of the structure of the walls. Due to this, 21 artists signed a letter protesting about the display of their artwork in such a space before its opening.

Burri at the Guggenheim in New York | Mazzoleni Art


11) Movies filmed at the Guggenheim include When in Rome, Bye Bye Birdie, Woody Allen’s Manhattan, Men in Black, and The International.

An image showing movie posters


12) One of the guards at the Guggenheim museum was Robert De Niro Sr., father of the movie star.

13) The monument is one of the youngest to be designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2008 when the structure was 49 years old.

14) On the exterior of the Guggenheim, there’s a small red tile bearing Wright’s initials. The architect commissioned a ceramicist to craft about 25 of these tiles, he was inspired by seals on Japanese prints, these tiles were placed on his projects that received his personal approval.

A picture of Red Squares bearing Frank Lloyd Wright
Red Squares bearing Frank Lloyd Wright


15) In 2006, Goya’s 1778 painting “Children With a Cart” was stolen while en route to the museum for an exhibition of Spanish paintings. After it recovered by the FBI it went on display again in 2007.

Painting of Stolen Goya Painting
Goya Painting


16) You can even wear the museum. The Guggenheim has released fragments leftover from the building’s recent overhaul and they are on sale in a line of jewellery called “Restoration Rocks”.

17) Lego has recently released a Guggenheim building set.

lego advert of guggenheim museum
Building Instructions – LEGO 21004: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum®


Want to read about another equally important museum in the world? Here are 10 facts about Louvre that you probably did not know!




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