Fleischer Cartoons

The Art and Inventions of Max Fleischer

Mar 7–14, 2024


Max Fleischer and Bimbo, 1930s. Image courtesy of Alamy.
  • MoMA, Floor T2/T1 The Debra and Leon Black Family Film Center

As the US approaches 100 years as an animation powerhouse, MoMA is thrilled to present a comprehensive survey of classic cartoons by the Fleischer Brothers, who gained notoriety for their Jazz Age creations Betty Boop and Koko the Clown as well as wildly popular screen adaptations of E. C. Segar’s Popeye and DC Comics’ Superman. In addition to family-friendly matinees, the series will include programs of historical and thematic groupings. Highlights include Max Fleischer’s very early Koko the Clown silents, which famously combined live-action hijinks with hand-drawn animation; programs highlighting the Fleischers’ merciless sense of humor and profound eye for anything phantasmagorical and transgressive, including sound-era triumphs like the Betty Boop headliner Minnie the Moocher, featuring a ferocious rotoscoped performance from Cab Calloway; and the Technicolor two-reel masterpiece Popeye the Sailor Man Meets Sindbad the Sailor Man. Much of the material in Fleischer Cartoons draws from a wealth of new 4K restorations supervised by Max Fleischer’s granddaughter, Jane Fleischer Reid—many of which will be making their world premieres at MoMA.

Organized by Dave Kehr, Curator, with Steve Macfarlane, Department Assistant, Department of Film. Thanks to Jane Fleischer Reid and Mauricio Alvarado.

Film at MoMA is made possible by CHANEL.

Additional support is provided by the Annual Film Fund. Leadership support for the Annual Film Fund is provided by Debra and Leon D. Black, with major contributions from the Triad Foundation, Inc., The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), The Young Patrons Council of The Museum of Modern Art, and by Karen and Gary Winnick.


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).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit https://www.moma.org/research/circulating-film.

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].