Edited by Megan Fontanella, with contributions by Tracey Bashkoff, Susan Davidson, Vivien Greene, Lauren Hinkson, Susan Thompson, Jeffrey Weiss
Visionaries: Creating a Modern Guggenheim celebrates the late 19th- and early 20th-century masterworks at the core of the institution’s holdings, and the trailblazers—artists and early patrons alike—whose contributions helped define the forward-looking identity of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Central to Visionaries is the story of museum founder Solomon R. Guggenheim, who with support from his trusted advisor, Hilla Rebay, become a great champion of “nonobjective” art and assembled a radical collection against the backdrop of economic crisis and war in the 1930s and ’40s.
A lead catalogue essay by museum curator Megan Fontanella explores Solomon Guggenheim’s fascinating activities in this period, together with those of five similarly pioneering art patrons whose personal holdings would become essential components of the foundation collection: Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and early School of Paris artworks from Justin K. Thannhauser; the eclectic Expressionist inventory of émigré art dealer Karl Nierendorf; the incomparable abstract and Surrealist paintings and sculptures from self-proclaimed “art addict” Peggy Guggenheim; and key modern examples from the estates of artists Katherine S. Dreier and Rebay. Alongside vibrant illustrations of works by such iconic artists as Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Vasily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, and Jackson Pollock, Visionaries also features essays by six curators examining touchstone works from the foundation collection.