Image Donated by Corbis-Bettmann
Philanthropist and art collector Solomon Guggenheim was born in Philadelphia to a merchant family. Following their marriage in 1895, Solomon and Irene Guggenheim began collecting art by old masters and American landscapes. Later, they collected works by the European avant-garde, focusing on the art of Vasily Kandinsky. Starting in 1930, the Guggenheims' opened their private apartment in New York City's Plaza Hotel for the public to view their collection. In 1937, Solomon Guggenheim, together with artist Hilla von Rebay, established the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in a former car dealership, which eventually led to the opening of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City in 1959.