Plaza Hotel Apartment

Solomon R. and Irene Guggenheim’s apartment in the Plaza Hotel, New York, circa 1937. Hillla von Rebay Foundation Archives. M0007. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Archives, New York

Throughout the 1930s and early 1940s, Solomon R. and Irene Guggenheim maintained several suites at the Plaza Hotel as their New York City residence. Already actively collecting nonobjective artwork, Solomon Guggenheim decided to open select areas of the apartment to the public for art viewings. The by-appointment viewings showcased artworks from his private collection, now know as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection.

Hilla Rebay, who would later be named the first director of the Museum of Non-Objective Painting, was instrumental in the selection and display of the artwork in the apartment. In addition, starting in 1939 and lasting until the early 1940s, Rebay invited artists to the apartment for “artists’ tea,” a forum in which Rebay would critique artists’ current work, and for lectures on nonobjectivity.

  • David Enock

    In a 1939 catalogue of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Collection of non-objective paintings entitled Art of Tomorrow, Hilla Rebay wrote this about one of the artists whose work is included in the catalogue…”He has rarely achieved Non-objectivity. In spite of his being a very talented painter he is constantly subjected to the hunt for journalistic sensations and inspirations from others, therefore lacking the intuitive organic development and constantly increasing volume which characterizes the evolution of genius. Like most famous painters he exhibited in all countries. Boosted by dealers and publicity, the future possibilities of his fame are doubtful and tragic.” The artist’s name was Pablo Picasso…go figure.