20 Guggenheim Facts

Things you probably didn’t know about Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece

by Rossana Vinci
13 Love 21913 Visits


1) The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum was Frank Lloyd Wright' s most notable achievements. The museum opened on October 21, 1959 in New York City, six months after Wright passed away at 91.


2) Frank Lloyd Wright originally wanted to call the Guggenheim the "Archeseum," which means "to see from the highest."


3) Frank Lloyd Wright's original plan for the Guggenheim Museum called for a glass elevator.



4) The seal on the floor of the Guggenheim entrance says, "Let each man exercise the art he knows" - Aristophanes 422 B.C.


5) When the Guggenheim Museum first opened in 1959, the cost of admission was 50 cents.


6) A walk up the Guggenheim ramp from the ground floor to the dome is 1,416 feet or over 1/4 of a mile long.


7) Frank Lloyd Wright first proposed red marble for the museum facade. He said, "Red is the color of Creation".


Wright at the Guggenheim. Photo Courtesy of the FLW Foundation.



8) The Guggenheim building is made of 700 tons of steel and 7,000 cubic feet of poured concrete.


9) During construction of the Guggenheim, Frank Lloyd Wright leased a suite at the Plaza Hotel and entirely redecorated the interior.


10) When writing to Hilla Rebay in 1944, Frank Lloyd Wright envisioned the Guggenheim as an "inverted ziggurat".


Guggenheim, Hilla Rebay and Frank Lloyd Wright in front of Bauer's painting "White Fugue", 1930s.



11) The distance between the Guggenheim rotunda floor to the top of the building measures 97 feet 9 inches.


12) Richard Serra's 2005 "The Matter of Time" at Museo Guggenheim Bilbao was the largest sculpture commission in history.



Frank Lloyd Wright surveys construction of the Guggenheim in 1957. Photo by Sam Falk/NYT



13) In 1945 Life Magazine published an article about the Guggenheim titled "New Art Museum Will Be New York's Strangest Building".


14) In 1953, Frank Lloyd Wright constructed a temporary glass-pavilion building for the Guggenheim collection on the grounds where the museum can be found today.


15) Fun fact for those in line today - 3,000 people waited in line on Oct 21, 1959 to be the first to visit the Guggenheim Museum.

 The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum rises on Fifth Avenue, ca. 1958



16) In 1943 Frank Lloyd Wright was asked to design a "temple of spirit" for non-objective paintings. 


17) Movies filmed at the Guggenheim include Bye Bye Birdie, Woody Allen's Manhattan, Men in Black, The International & When in Rome.


18) Kandinsky featured nearly 100 paintings & 60+ works on paper from 1902 to 1942.


Frank Lloyd Wright inspects construction of the Guggenheim Museum, New York City September 6, 1957 photographer: Sam Falk



19) To design the Guggenheim Museum Frank, Lloyd Wright created over 700 sketches.


20) His design created a lot of arguments as many people did not like it. One person said it looked like an "an indigestible hot cross bun", and another said it looked like "an inverted oatmeal dish."


Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Restoration CompletionPhotograph by David Heald - © The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Restoration CompletionPhotograph by David Heald - © The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York.





Cover photo:  Frank Lloyd Wright, Hilla Rebay, and Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York (1945). Courtesy of the Solomon R.Guggenheim Foundation, New York.




  • Umberto Sifo

    Ho conosciuto WRIGHT attraverso i libri studiandone la vita e le opere...ebbene ha cambiato il corso della mia esistenza.... Grazie Maestro......

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 43

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

New York / United States / 1943