The Guggenheim and the Baroness

The Story of Hilla Rebay

"My dear Hilla,
Mr Guggenheim can never find a better or more faithful curator than you are. This whole building has been built for you and around you whether you know it or not. Or whether he knows it or not.”
Frank Lloyd Wright to Hilla Rebay, August 9, 1945

This is the portrait of the woman who not only established the Guggenheim Museum and with it changed the face of modern art, but of one who was virtually forgotten until now. Her name is Hilla Rebay, also known as "the Baroness". She was the woman behind Solomon Guggenheim, Frank Lloyd Wright and Wassily Kandinsky, just to name a few. She promoted the avant-garde who eventually became the most famous artists of their time. This is also a great love story: Rudolf Bauer, a German painter, was the love and simultaneously the demon in Hilla Rebay’s life. For him she was willing to sacrifice everything: her career as a painter, her friendships with Kandinsky, Frank Lloyd Wright and others, while he exploited and betrayed her shamelessly.

Thirty-five years after her death, she is being rediscovered: The Guggenheim Museum has shown a Hilla Rebay in 2005. This exibition was also shown at Museum Villa Stuck, Munich, at Schlossmuseum Murnau and at Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin. From November 2006 another Rebay exhibition at the Städtische Galerie Neuwied will be held.

A Coproduction between White Pepper Films and ZDF / arte (Sabine Bucek-Paaz, Susanne Mertens), AVRO (Marijke Huijbregts, Marike Rawie), YLE (Leena Pasanen), the Film Foundation MFG Baden-Württemberg, the MEDIA programm of the E.U., and the Hilla Rebay Foundation, Connecticut
We wish to thank the Hilla Rebay Foundation, Greenwich, Connecticut, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Guggenheim Museum, New York.

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"finally hilla rebay comes to life through faltin's imaginative compilation of photos, films, quotations from letters and interviews with those who knew her." (vivian endicott barnett, kandinsky expert)

"the film amounts to an authentic portrait of the guggenheim's first director, shedding light upon her personality, style and accomplishment. for those who did not know hilla von rebay, the film will provide valuable information while for those who remember her, it will be a source of amusement and delight." (thomas m. messer, director emeritus,the solomon r. guggenheim foundation)

Produced by

White Pepper Films coproduced with ZDF/arte, AVRO (The Netherlands), YLE (Finland)

A film by

Sigrid Faltin



Running time

73 min. / 52 min.


  • cinematographer: Ingo Behring
  • sound: Fabian Müller, Mark Klotz
  • editor: Mike Schlömer
  • animation artist: Felix Müller
  • composer: Cornelius Schwehr
  • sound design: Jürgen Kramlofsky


Bronze medal Documentary Film New York Festivals 2005

Nomination  Documentary Film Award Baden-Württemberg 2005,

Nomination Best TV documentary New York Festivals 2005

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„We produce documentary films - it's real life that interests us.“
Sigrid Faltin, white pepper films


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