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.