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18 April 2019The Guggenheims: a Dynasty of Art Collectors
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The Guggenheims: a Dynasty of Art Collectors Andrew Hopkins Thursday 18 April 2019

What other family in the 20th century managed to amass such extraordinary art collections and design, or purchase such astounding buildings to display their collections? Compared to the Frick and Gulbenkian, individual collections displayed in single museums, the Guggenheim name was transformed in the late twentieth century into a brand, some would say a chain. With celebrated museums in New York, with the flagship Solomon R. Guggenheim landmark on Fifth Avenue, together with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection on the Grand Canal in Venice, the family foundation did not stop there. They commissioned the celebrated building by Frank Gehry in Bilbao, which opened in 1997, and which is now considered a masterpiece of modern architecture and design. Other expansion plans have not fared so well, with outposts in Las Vegas and Berlin closing after some years. New building projects in Vilnius and Helsinki have been abandoned after opposition by residents. This lecture looks at the beginning of both Solomon’s and Peggy’s collections in New York City and traces the development and expansion of their collections over more than half a century.