For more than fifty years the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York has selected the wall colors to complement the celebrated collection of modern art showcased in its Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home on Fifth Avenue. Beginning this fall, the Guggenheim will share these trade secrets with homeowners, interior designers, architects and art lovers everywhere.
Through an exclusive licensing arrangement with the Guggenheim, Fine Paints of Europe, Inc., Woodstock, Vt., will introduce two paint collections suitable for residential and commercial use.
The Classical Colors is a set of 150 wall colors drawn from paintings in the Guggenheim's permanent collection. The Gallery Colors are comprised of 50 hues favored by generations of Guggenheim Museum curators, artists and designers, including Wright himself.
"We see color as an important aspect of the art experience at the Guggenheim, whether we are aiming to highlight a particular canvas or unify a wall of very different objects," said Karen Meyerhoff, managing director for business development at the Guggenheim Museum. "The museum has chosen to develop these new collections with Fine Paints of Europe because of the company's expertise in recreating even the subtlest nuances of color.”
Classical Colors reflects the color palette of paintings by Paul Cézanne, Vasily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, Vincent van Gogh, and other modern masters whose works are in the museum's celebrated collection. Colors range from the lively yellow of Franz Marc's Stables (1913) to the soft blue-gray found in the sky of Van Gogh's Mountains at Saint-Rémy (1889).
For the Gallery Colors collection, the museum delved into its archives to find original colors used for milestone exhibitions and shades chosen by Wright, artists and museum curators. The resulting spectrum is intended to guide homeowners in the presentation of art, whether the goal be to frame a painting unobtrusively or to achieve the mood of a distinct era or culture. These colors are the product of complex formulations designed to produce interactive tones far more interesting than conventional paint colors.
The hues in the Gallery Colors collection are the result of rigorous testing: each time the Guggenheim mounts an exhibition, designers begin with small-scale models of the gallery space, sample wall colors, and tiny replicas of the artworks. The team then moves into the museum itself to view full-scale mock-ups. Because the final choice of wall color can influence how a museum visitor experiences the artworks, this testing phase is crucial to the museum's color decisions.
The Classical Colors and Gallery Colors collections were both further refined in consultation with Fine Paints of Europe, whose specialists fine-tuned the selections for a variety of architectural settings and lighting situations, to precisely match each hue.
"We know our clients are serious about the integrity of their physical space," said John Lahey, founder, owner and CEO of Fine Paints of Europe. "They care about the beauty of paint itself: the depth of color, the touch and the durability. So imagine how thrilled we are to be able to apply our own technical mastery to the development of these unique colors, drawn from one of the world's leading collections of modern art."