This permanent collection installation features both acquisitions from Karl Nierendorf’s galleries in Berlin and New York and from the gallerist’s estate. Formerly a banker, German-born Karl Nierendorf (1889–1947) began his career in the art trade in 1920 in Cologne. In 1936 Nierendorf immigrated to the U.S. and established the Nierendorf Gallery in New York, where he encountered Hilla Rebay (1890–1967) and the newly established Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Nierendorf promoted artists represented in the Guggenheim collection, including Lyonel Feininger, Perle Fine, and Franz Marc, which led the Foundation to purchase a number of important works for its collection from Nierendorf Gallery.
Following his premature death in 1947, the Guggenheim Foundation purchased the entire estate of Karl Nierendorf, thereby gaining not only works acquired for the Guggenheim during his travels abroad from 1946 to 1947, but also his gallery inventory and likely objects from the dealer’s personal collection. This major acquisition enriched the breadth of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection with a concentration of Expressionist works, such as Oskar Kokoschka’s Knight Errant (1915); Surrealist paintings; and significant holdings of Paul Klee. Comprised in this major purchase are also early paintings by Adolph Gottlieb, which are among the first compositions by a member of the nascent school of Abstract Expressionism to enter the Guggenheim’s collection.
From Berlin to New York
Karl Nierendorf and the Guggenheim