Guggenheim Won't Be Turning Yellow

Wright wanted it, but landmarks commission says it stays off-white
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2007 10:17 AM CST
The Guggenheim museum will be repainted off-white, not yellow.   ((c) Martini Captures)
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(Newser) – When the construction wrappings come off, the Guggenheim Museum will be off-white again, not yellow, after an unusual preservation debate was settled by New York City's landmarks commission. Frank Lloyd Wright's iconic Upper East Side museum was painted a buff yellow for its first four years—the architect famously hated white—and some wanted it restored to its original color after its $27-million facelift. But the Gugg has been gray-white for most of its life, and after months of testimony, it'll stay that way.

The landmarks commission looked at paint chips half a century old, undertook chemical analysis of the pigments, and posted giant swatches on the museum's exterior. One board member said that even if yellow was Wright's intention, he changed his mind all the time. Thomas Krens, the museum's director, seconded that: at one point Wright wanted the museum painted bright red.