• MoMA, Floor 5, 502 The Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Galleries

When The Museum of Modern Art first opened in 1929, with only a handful of artworks in its collection, it was more of an idea than a full-fledged institution. The Museum’s aspiration to establish a more robust collection was fulfilled when, in 1931, it received a bequest of more than 150 works from Lillie P. Bliss, one of three intrepid women who founded the Museum. A staunch advocate for modern art, Bliss had sought out the work of mostly late-19th-century French artists whose radical approaches to color, space, and form were controversial at the time.

The bequest became the core of the MoMA collection. The generous terms of the gift allowed works from her bequest to be sold to fund new acquisitions. That exceptional foresight facilitated the purchase of many artworks now considered synonymous with MoMA, including Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night.

13 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.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].

Licensing

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-and-learning/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].

Feedback

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