The Museum of Modern Art’s Christmas card program was initiated in 1954 by the Museum’s Junior Council. The Junior Council, an affiliate group, had been founded five years earlier “to bring together a group of younger people who have a common interest in the arts and a desire to see them fostered soundly and liberally in this country.” It was chaired by Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, III.
The program invited artists to submit original cards or card designs. The council’s Christmas Card Committee then selected from those submissions and chose several annually for reproduction and sale at the Museum. A royalty on sales was paid to the artists, and the council benefited from a percentage of the profits.
The program thrived, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s, during which time a wide range of artists were represented, including Ilya Bolotowsky, Niki de Saint Phalle, Robert Indiana, Bridget Riley, and Hannah Wilke. In 1986 the council was renamed the Contemporary Arts Council, and soon after the card program shifted to the Museum’s Publications department. Today the cards are produced under the auspices of the Museum’s Retail department.