Exhibition Catalogues, Collection Catalogues

The Société Anonyme: Modernism for America

Edited by Jennifer R. Gross
With contributions by Ruth L. Bohan, Susan Greenberg, David Joselit, Elise K. Kenney, Dickran Tashjian, and Kristina Wilson

[This book] is a comprehensive and long overdue study of an important organization that has been unfairly relegated to the status of a footnote in texts on Marcel Duchamp, Katherine Dreier’s key collaborator for several decades. —Barnaby Haran, Oxford Art Journal

Yale’s efforts to keep the historical importance of the Société Anonyme alive are well-received and appreciated in this catalog. —Jayanthi Daniel, New York Sun

This is the first use and exploration of SA (Société Anonyme) archival materials… . The prose is clear, accessible, and engaging … and will appeal to specialists as well as the public. Recommended. —Ellen Bates, Library Journal

This massive and important body of work brings together Russian and Soviet avant-garde artists with surrealists, early 20th-century American modernists, and other progressives. “The Société Anonyme: Modernism for America” is primarily a critical guide to the collection and is scholarly without being overbearing… . Anyone interested in the rise of modernism in America should consider this required reading. —R. K. Dickson, Bloomsbury Review (Holiday gifts for booklovers)

[A] rich and varied account of an important cultural institution whose historical and conceptual dimensions have, until now, been too little known. In bringing these materials so vividly to light, the catalogue lifts the shadows surrounding Duchamp and Dreier’s “Anonymous Corporation,” as it reveals the Société Anonyme to be a Société Extraordinaire. —Marcia Brennan, CAA Reviews

Lived history, though, is messier than art history, and the Yale Art Gallery’s “Société Anonyme” gives an unvarnished and, ultimately, more satisfying sense of actual periodicity. —Nicholas Weist, Shelf column, Whitewall

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 100 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.

230 pages / 9 1/2 x 12 inches / 302 color and 62 black-and-white illustrations / Copublished with Yale University Press / 2006
  • Paperback with flaps ISBN 978-0-89467-961-2
    Item# 268
    Price $45; Members $36
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-0-300-10921-4
    Item# 267
    Out of Print

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