Soloman R. Guggenheim was a Pennsylvania-born heir to mining interests in which his family had invested. It was his love for art, however, which was given to him by his wife, Irene Rothschild, which inspired him to start collecting pieces of artwork.
Mr. Guggenheim's collection was the basis for the formation of what would eventually become the Guggenheim Museum. The collection started out being housed in a private apartment at the Plaza Hotel. As it grew, it became apparent that a bigger space would be needed; this led to the Museum of Non-Objective Painting being opened at 24 East 54th Street in New York City, and ultimately to the creation of the Guggenheim Museum.
What's in the museum?
Currently, there are four special exhibitions being featured at the Guggenheim. Two of them are:
Between now and November 2, 2011, you can view $100,000, in previously-circulated $1 bills, which have been pinned to the wall by Hans-Peter Feldmann. These $1 bills represent the amount of the Hugo Boss Prize, which Mr. Feldmann won in 2010.
100,000 is already a lot of money. When you see the $1 bills pinned to the wall, overlapping each other, you'll really get a sense of just how much money it is. You'll really enjoy this unusual solo piece of art by Mr. Feldmann.
Vasily Kandinsky enjoyed working with geometric shapes and had the privilege of teaching art at the Bauhaus, which was a (German) state-sponsored school in operation from 1919 until 1933. The Nazi government pressured the school into closing down, but we can still enjoy Mr. Kandinsky's works, both in paintings and works on paper, at the Guggenheim.
This is an ongoing exhibit, so you will be able to view it for quite a while longer. Make sure you make it one of your stops on your Guggenheim tour.
You can also enjoy the Thannhauser Collection, another ongoing collection. This is a "collection-on-view"; in other words, think of it as a "permanent" collection. This collection includes works of art that were the personal property of Justin K. Thannhauser, and includes artwork from such artists as Monet, Gauguin, Picasso, and Van Gogh, just to name a few.