October 21 in History: The Guggenheim Museum Opens on the Upper East Side
While the art collection dates back to 1939, the Guggenheim opened in its permanent building on October 21, 1959.
Solomon R. Guggenheim had been collecting artwork since the 1890s and opened the "Museum of Non-Objective Painting" in 1939 in Midtown at 24 East 54th Street, a former car showroom. The "inverted oatmeal dish" of a building was met with criticism, but it was one of Frank Lloyd Wright's most impressive creations. Although constructed on a limited budget, the building would take its place along Fifth Avenue with confidence, opening in 1959 and becoming a permanent fixture of New York City.
Visit the Guggenheim today from 10am to 7:45pm.
Did you know?
- Frank Lloyd Wright originally proposed that the building would be red!
- The museum sees just over 1,000,000 visitors annually
- Solomon Guggenheim's first exhibitions were held at the Plaza Hotel
- The original skylight had to be replaced in 1991 with new thermal glass that filters out harmful UV and infrared light
- The building opened after both Guggenheim's and Wright's deaths (1949 and 1959, respectively)