In the early 20th century, Paris was the capital of the avant-garde. Artists from around the world settled in the City of Light, where they created new forms of art and literature and responded to the rapid economic, social, and technological developments that were fundamentally transforming urban life. Paris was where Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque radically overturned the conventions of painting, Robert Delaunay composed visions of harmonious color, Vasily Kandinsky pursued new directions in abstraction, and Constantin Brancusi reimagined how sculptures could be present in space.
Bringing together masterpieces from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum collection, Windows on the City, curated by Lauren Hinkson, Assistant Curator for Collections, offers a vibrant glimpse of a historic creative outpouring and includes some of the past century’s most important paintings and sculptures, works that remain influential today. The exhibition, which spans the first years of the 20th century through World War II, charts key movements of modernism—from Cubism to Orphism to Surrealism—and the artists who came to be known as the École de Paris(School of Paris). Though diverse, the artistic visions represented manifest a common impulse to eschew conservative aesthetics and transform perceptions of everyday life in a modern city.