MoMA held the first retrospective of the Swiss avant-garde artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp in 1981. Consisting of more than 40 works from multiple periods of the artist’s mature work, the exhibition aimed, according to curator Carolyn Lanchner, “to present a small, selective retrospective that will demonstrate the quality, originality, and importance of her work.” This motivation stemmed from a widespread misperception of Taeuber-Arp as a minor modernist, despite her foundational role in the Zürich Dada movement and accomplishments as a painter, sculptor, and textile designer. Taeuber-Arp, also a leading practitioner of geometric abstraction, had for many years best been known to a small, admiring fan base; beyond this, she was largely overshadowed by the men in her artistic circles. MoMA's retrospective, which traveled to several venues across the US and Canada, was a major milestone in recuperating Taeuber-Arp as one of the foremost modernists of the early 20th century.
September 17–December 13, 1981 The Museum of Modern Art