An irreplaceable international collection of visual art.
Guggenheim originally collected old masters until the German artist and later museum director Baroness Hilla Rebay introduced him to non-objective art. In 1943 the Swiss collector commissioned the architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1869 until 1959) to plan a museum building to display the works of art in the “Solomon R. Guggenheim Collection of Non-Objective Paintings” which had been housed temporarily since 1939. Fourteen years passed until all of the city's requirements were met, and building finally began in 1957. Wright never saw the opening: he died six months before the museum was completed in 1959. Wright's only museum and his only building in New York is a great work of architectural art, even though there are a number of critics who doubt its suitability as a museum. For Wright himself his aesthetic form meets the function halfway. He detached himself from the usual division of museums into halls and created one single cylindrical 28m/90ft interior in which the only light source is daylight through a glass dome. A conically widening, 432m/472.4yd-long spiralling ramp with a 3% incline winds around the room and exhibits the works of art in over 70 niches and small galleries. The spiral is now used only for temporary exhibitions; the main collection is in the extension.
Guggenheim Museum travel guide by Marco Polo city guide
Frank Lloyd Wright was the greatest and most influential American architect. In the early 20th century he conquered the traditional Colonial and Victorian "box"-houses towards a modern architecture, characterized by open spaces. The Guggenheim Museum was his late work and the first and only building ever realized in New York. He inspected the construction site as an old but still vital man with a walking stick. However, he died a few months before the opening. Wright's main idea of the spiral-form and inside-ramp was to allow the visitors a convenient as possible museum-tour. They were supposed to start with the elevator and then easily walk the sloping ramp top down, passing the exhibited artworks.