• MoMA, Floor 5, 513 The David Geffen Wing

“Experimental aesthetics, painting, sculpture, architecture, literature, music, engineering, theater, the music hall, cinema, circus, sports, costume, books, furniture, the aesthetics of modern life.” This wide-ranging list, which appeared on the cover of the inaugural issue of the journal L’Esprit nouveau, in 1920, summarizes the energetic, boundary-crossing spirit of Paris between the two world wars.

In response to the violent ruptures of World War I, artists and designers working in the French capital tried to simultaneously reestablish tradition and construct a dynamic new world. The architect Le Corbusier, for instance, praised both the classicism of the Parthenon and the modernity of the automobile, while the painter Fernand Léger situated lounging female nudes, a time-honored subject, in a sleekly contemporary interior. Exchanges among artists from across Central and Eastern Europe, South America, and elsewhere—and the circulation of art from France’s colonies in Africa—fueled new artistic attitudes as well.

45 works online

Artists

Installation images

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

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