Growing Up Guggenheim: A Personal History of a Family Enterprise

Open Road Media, 20 2014 - 163
InGrowing Up Guggenheim, Peter Lawson-Johnstona Guggenheim himself, and the board president who oversaw the transformation of the renowned museum from a local New York institution to a global art ventureshares a personal memoir that includes intimate portraits of the five people principally responsible for the entire Guggenheim art legacy.

In addition to first-hand biographical accounts of his grandfather Solomon Guggenheim (the museums founder), his cousin Harry (Solomons successor), and his famously rebellious cousin Peggy (whose magnificent Venice art collection he helped bring under New York Guggenheim management), the author tells the stories of long-time museum director Thomas Messer, who initiated the bold expansion of Frank Lloyd Wrights original museum building, and current director Thomas Krens, whose controversial tenure has featured such innovations as the Guggenheims wildly successful first international outpost in Bilbao, Spain, and exhibits devoted to fashion and motorcycles.

Lawson-Johnston also traces his own career, from his first job as sales manager of a remote feldspar mine, to his rapid ascent to the family summit, to his extension of the Guggenheim legacy in ways none of his predecessors could have envisioned. Despite his native and tangible humility, this evocative narrative makes clear Lawson-Johnstons indispensable role as the loyal steward of one of Americas most famous family enterprises.


Foreword by Josiah Bunting
Growing Up Guggenheim
Tom Messer
Cousin Peggy
Tom Krens



Peter Lawson-Johnston, a member of the Guggenheim familys fifth generation, has overseen the familys major business, philanthropic, and arts enterprises since 1969, when he was named president of the board of trustees of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. A graduate of the University of Virginia, Lawson-Johnston is president of the board of the universitys art museum. He is also the former president of the board of trustees of The Lawrenceville School, and he currently serves on the board of National Review.