How to Make a Modern Art Library: Selections from the Éluard-Dausse Collection

Apr 8–Jun 22, 2009


Library, 1939. The Museum of Modern Art Archives. Photo: Robert Damora
  • Education Center, Mezzanine Mezzanine

On the eve of director Alfred H. Barr’s pioneering 1936 exhibition Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism, The Museum of Modern Art announced the arrival in its library of two extraordinary collections of Surrealist literature: those of Paul Éluard, the French poet and central figure of the Surrealist movement, and Camille Dausse, a Parisian doctor and friend to many poets and artists from the group. Comprising almost 700 books, magazines, pamphlets, and other ephemera, the acquisition provided the new department with its formative collection, significantly increasing its holdings in a diversity of forms and genres—from livres d’artistes and automatic drawings to gallery invitations and press clippings—and satisfying the Library Committee’s self-imposed directive to document contemporary art in nontraditional ways. By actively pursuing primary sources and some of the more fugitive traces of contemporary artistic practice, the committee developed an approach to modern art resources that has remained the blueprint for developing research collections to this day. On view together for the first time are some of the rare items from this invaluable collection of Surrealist literature.

Organized by Sheelagh Bevan, Assistant Librarian, The Museum of Modern Art Library.


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].