American film actress Lillian Gish (1893–1993) enjoyed a seventy-five-year career with roles in over one hundred films—about half of which are included in the Museum's collection—including such landmark works as her debut film, An Unseen Enemy, a Biograph short made in 1912 by D. W. Griffith; and her last silent picture, The Wind (1928). Though she is frequently characterized as a waifish portrait of fragility, Gish’s characters in films such as Way Down East (1920), Orphans of the Storm (1922), The Scarlet Letter (1926), and The Night of the Hunter (1955) embodied female resilience in the face of abandonment, persecution, and mortal peril. This exhibition examines the breadth of Gish’s career and represents MoMA's early and steadfast dedication to collecting seminal works of film history.
Organized by Jenny He, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Film. This exhibition is presented in conjunction with MoMA’s publication of Modern Women: Women Artists at The Museum of Modern Art.