Daily Archives: March 2, 2017

Hilla Rebay & The Museum of Non Objective Art: The Origin of the Guggenheim Museum

by Franklin Hill Perrell

Hilla Rebay & the Museum of Non Objective Art: The Origin
of the Guggenheim Museum Exhibition at Leila Heller Gallery

Out of a wealth of excellent exhibitions this month in Chelsea, this portrayal of a crucial episode in the introduction of modernism to America must not be missed. For anyone who cares to gain insight into the art of the 1950’s and the ultimate globalism of artistic endeavor, this is essential fare.

Hilla Rebay, Orange Cross, c. 1947, Oil on canvas, 44 1⁄8 x 37 in. (112.28 x 93.98 cm.) © 2017 The Hilla von Rebay Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Both Hilla Rebay, artist, curator, collector, and mentor to Solomon Guggenheim, and Guggenheim as a patron, present a fascinating story apart from the art itself. Rebay, born a German baroness, grew up in the atmosphere of a high ranking Prussian military family- under the old German empire- Wilhelmine Germany, comparable in stuffiness to the Victorian era of Britain, as unlikely a setting for the production of great innovative art as would be possible. She was driven to a fiercely independent viewpoint and art career that ultimately led her to NY as an artist in the 1920s, where she met Guggenheim, whose portrait she was commissioned to paint. Precisely what their relationship was, or became, is a source of endless speculation, but the inescapable fact was that he trusted her judgment supremely. Under her tutelage, he assembled the greatest 20th

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