Findings

Guggenheim Museum Opening Day Film



On October 21, 1959, sixteen years after it was first conceived, the Guggenheim Museum opened to the public. Thousands flocked to the opening and the film “Buildings & Crowd” captures their excitement as lines formed down Fifth Avenue.

The end of the film highlights the inaugural exhibition within the rotunda. With works by Jean Arp, Constantin Brancusi, Marc Chagall, Stuart David, Max Ernst, Paul Klee, and Vasily Kandinsky, visitors were wowed by both the art and the Guggenheim Museum itself.

Happy Anniversary Guggenheim Museum!

“Buildings & Crowd,” 1959. Films on the construction of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. A0005. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Archives, New York, NY

  • linda shearer

    My dad, Ivor Balding, went to the opening of the Guggenheim Museum in 1959 with one of my sisters. He was invited because he was a race horse trainer and therefore knew Harry Guggenheim. Ironically I started work at the museum in September 1969 as a curatorial assistant and left in 1980 as an associate curator. My dad was always surprised I hadn’t asked him to solicit Harry’s help to get me hired!

    • FrancineSnyder

      I like to think that your family’s attendance unknowingly envisioned your tenure at the Guggenheim. I love the serendipity of this story!

      • linda shearer

        I’m sure you’re right, Francine!

      • linda shearer

        I’m sure you’re right, Francine!