The Société Anonyme: Modernism for America

Overview


This beautifully illustrated book highlights the unique history of The Société Anonyme, Inc., an organization founded in 1920 by the artists Katherine S. Dreier (1877–1952), Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968), and Man Ray (1890–1976). As America’s first “experimental museum” for modern art, the Société Anonyme provided a means for artists, rather than historians, to chronicle the rise of modernism. Led by Dreier and Duchamp, the group eventually assembled a collection of more than one thousand artworks, which it ...
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Overview


This beautifully illustrated book highlights the unique history of The Société Anonyme, Inc., an organization founded in 1920 by the artists Katherine S. Dreier (1877–1952), Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968), and Man Ray (1890–1976). As America’s first “experimental museum” for modern art, the Société Anonyme provided a means for artists, rather than historians, to chronicle the rise of modernism. Led by Dreier and Duchamp, the group eventually assembled a collection of more than one thousand artworks, which it presented to the public in a variety of innovative programs, publications, and exhibitions.
The incredible collection of the Société Anonyme now belongs to the Yale University Art Gallery, a gift from the Société and Dreier. It features the work of more than one hundred artists, many of whom are among the century’s most renowned—including Jean Arp, Duchamp, Max Ernst, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, El Lissitzky, Piet Mondrian, Man Ray, Kurt Schwitters, and Joseph Stella—as well as works by lesser-known artists whose contributions to modernism are substantial.
With new archival information, including personal correspondence between Dreier and the artists whose work she assembled, a host of previously unpublished images, essays by leading scholars, and an interview with artists Robert and Sylvia Mangold about the contemporary significance of this collection, this fascinating book is essential to our understanding of the reception and interpretation of modernism in America.
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Editorial Reviews

Whitewall - Nicholas Weist

“This catalogue is a must-read document of a thrilling time when a community of artists was making its own rules, and waiting for history to catch up.”—Nicholas Weist, Whitewall
Whitewall - Nicholas Weist
“This catalogue is a must-read document of a thrilling time when a community of artists was making its own rules, and waiting for history to catch up.”—Nicholas Weist, Whitewall
Library Journal
Before there was a Museum of Modern Art, there was the Soci t Anonyme (SA). Through exhibits and outreach, from museums to trade schools, the SA intended to expose all Americans to the latest modernist avant-garde experiences of Germany, France, Russia, and Italy as well as to the post-World War I artworks of young American and immigrant artists. This first history of the SA edited by Gross (Joan Bankemper) doubles as a catalog for an exhibition traveling through 2010. It consists of seven essays by noted art historians discussing the organization's development and the contributions of its theosophical visionary, Katherine S. Dreier. The SA eventually accumulated more than 1000 objects (by 180 artists), which Dreier donated to Yale University in the hopes that the institution would establish an educational program disseminating SA members' ideas. Fifty years later, this is the first use and exploration of SA archival materials. Its pages contain artist biographies, an interview with contemporary artists Sylvia and Robert Mangold, and approximately 300 full-color reproductions and black-and-white images that include historic photographs. The prose is clear, accessible, and engaging as Dreier would have liked it and will appeal to specialists as well as the public for which Dreier intended her donation. Recommended. Ellen Bates, New York Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300109214
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 9.70 (w) x 12.06 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author


Jennifer R. Gross is Seymour H. Knox, Jr., Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Susan Greenberg is Horace W. Goldsmith Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, and Elise K. Kenney is historian and archivist, all at the Yale University Art Gallery. Ruth L. Bohan is associate professor of art history at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. David Joselit is professor of art history at Yale University. Dickran Tashjian is professor emeritus of art history at the University of California, Irvine. Kristina Wilson is assistant professor of art history at Clark University.
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Table of Contents

An artists' museum 1
Joseph Stella and the "conjunction of worlds" 17
The artist readymade : Marcel Duchamp and the Societe Anonyme 33
"A big cosmic force" : Katherine S. Dreier and the Russian/Soviet avant-garde 45
"One big painting" : a new view of modern art at the Brooklyn Museum 75
Art as experience : Katherine S. Dreier and the educational mission of the Societe Anonyme 97
Believe me, faithfully yours 123
The Societe Anonyme collection comes to Yale 143
The artists' view : Sylvia and Robert Mangold on the Societe Anonyme collection 157
Artist biographies 167
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