Rebay’s studio near Carnegie Hall was decorated with works by artist Rudolf Bauer, her on-and-off romantic partner and longtime artistic collaborator. Guggenheim took an interest in these pieces—which were “nonobjective,” as Rebay referred to them, and dramatically different from the art he had previously experienced. The two formed a friendship, and Rebay encouraged him to collect some works by Bauer; this was the starting point of a personal and professional relationship that would last the rest of Guggenheim’s life.
“I wished others to share my joy.”
Of his collecting at this time, Guggenheim said, “Everybody was telling me that this modern stuff was the bunk. So as I’ve always been interested in things that people told me were the bunk, I decided that therefore there must be beauty in modern art. I got to feel those pictures so deeply that I wanted them to live with me.”
Live with him, they did. Beginning in the early 1930s, the Guggenheims used several suites that they occupied at the Plaza Hotel to showcase the growing collection, which was open to the public by appointment. Guggenheim’s collection also decorated his country home at Trilora Court in Sands Point, Long Island.