artist rights society

“To sense the invisible and to be able to create it — that is art.”

Hans Hofmann was born #onthisday in 1880. The abstract expressionist was also an influential modern art teacher, whose students included Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler, and Joan Mitchell.

[Hans Hofmann. Cathedral. 1959. Oil on canvas. Fractional and promised gift of Agnes Gund in honor of William Rubin. © 2017 Estate of Hans Hofmann/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York]

Happy birthday to artist Alexander Calder! The exact date of Calder’s birth is a bit of a mystery—Philadelphia’s City Hall, the doctor who delivered him, and his own family all offer differing accounts as to whether it’s on July 22 or August 22. As for Calder, he celebrated both. Who can argue with that?

[Alexander Calder with Gamma, 1947, and Sword Plant, 1947, Alexander Calder, Buchholz Gallery/Curt Valentin, New York, 1947. © 2017 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York]

#DuchampScandal #AprilFoolsDay

“Fountain,” 1950 (replica of 1917 original), by Marcel Duchamp © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris/Estate of Marcel Duchamp

“I just decided when someone says you can’t do something, do more of it.” - Faith Ringgold

Faith Ringgold’s Freedom Woman Now (Political Posters) from 1971. In honor of International Women’s Day. See more of Ringgold’s works at

(Cut-and-pasted colored paper on board. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Endowment for Prints. © 2017 Faith Ringgold/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)

André Kertész :: Calder with Eucalyptus, 1940. (Image © Ministère de la Culture / Médiathèque de Patrimoine, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais) 

“He didn’t see an eucalyptus tree and those long beautiful leaves and think, ‘I want to interpret that in a sculpture.’ He made a sculpture, and he looked at it, and he saw that it looked kind of like eucalyptus leaves” – Sandy Rower 

Although often evocative, Calder’s titles are not guides for interpretation. The artist named his abstract sculptures after they were created simply as a means to identify or differentiate. “I give names to the things I’m working on just like license plates,” Calder once said. © 2017 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society [ARS], New York)

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Edward Steichen’s “The Maypole (Empire State Building)”

Edward Steichen was born on this day in 1879. In addition to being a photographer himself, Steichen was Director of MoMA’s Department of Photography and curated the museum’s popular exhibition The Family of Man. Steichen took this photo of the Empire State Building a year after its construction ended, and used two separate negatives to create the photograph’s dizzying effect.

[Edward Steichen. The Maypole (Empire State Building). 1932. Gelatin silver print. Gift of the photographer. © 2017 The Estate of Edward Steichen/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.]

Juan Gris’s “Breakfast”

Juan Gris was born #onthisday in 1887. Gris favored the papier collé technique invented by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso. In Breakfast, the artist combines abstract collage with tromp l’oeil drawing, calling the perception of reality into question. Learn more.

[Juan Gris. Breakfast. 1914. Gouache, oil, and crayon on cut-and-pasted printed paper on canvas with oil and crayon. Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris.]

Crossing Borders: Immigration and American Culture

As part of our Citizens and Borders initiative, we have launched a digital exhibition of works from MoMA’s collection by artists who immigrated to the U.S., often as refugees in search of safe haven. The works were chosen by staff across the Museum, and represent a range of mediums—painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, performance, film, design, and architecture—and a span of nearly 100 years.

We’ll be posting a selection of those works here over the next week, but you can explore all the works at

[Arshile Gorky. Garden in Sochi. c. 1943. Oil on canvas. Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest. © 2017 Estate of Arshile Gorky/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York]

Happy birthday Kurt Schwitters, born on this day in 1887!

Schwitters’ collages, like “Picture with Light Center” (1919), made in the wake of WWI with bits of advertising, scraps of newspaper, wood, garbage, and urban debris, serve as hopeful portraits of how destruction can feed creation.

Learn more about this early 20th-century Dada artist and his “merz”—a nonsense word that came to encapsulate his artistic philosophy, process, and lifestyle:

[Cut-and-pasted colored paper and printed paper, watercolor, oil, and pencil on board. Purchase. © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn]

Richard Hamilton was born on this day in 1922.

A pioneer of Pop Art, the British artist used collage to critique consumer culture and mass media. A prime example of this is Interior, which incorporates advertisements from mass-circulation magazines.

View other work of Hamilton’s in the #MoMACollection at

[Richard Hamilton. Interior. 1964. Screenprint. Dorothy Braude Edinburg Fund. © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London]

René Lalique (French, 1860–1945), Chrysanthemum Pendant/Brooch, c. 1900. Collection of Richard H. Driehaus. © 2014 Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris. Photo by John Faier, 2014, © The Richard H. Driehaus Museum.

Tech Tuesday: Keith Sonnier uses welded steel, neon, argon, transformer, aluminum excel, reflectors and hardware in this alluring work, Gran Twister (2012). Using light as the key component to his works, Sonnier’s neon sculptures and installations play with space, color and light, enabling them to interact on various architectural planes. 

© Keith Sonnier/Artist Rights Society. Photograph by Genevieve Hanson, courtesy Pace Gallery.


Happy Birthday Agnes Martin and Yayoi Kusama!

Both pioneering artists, both born on this day, and both featured in MoMA’s newest free online course, “In the Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting.” It wasn’t easy for these women to make a place for themselves in the male-dominated postwar New York art world. But they persisted—with Kusama claiming that she wanted nothing less than to “start a new art movement”—and became some of the foremost artists of their day. Enroll today to learn about the materials, techniques, and approaches of Martin, Kusama, and five other New York School artists. Sign up at today!

[Agnes Martin. With My Back to the World. 1997. Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, six panels. Fractional and promised gift of Michael and Judy Ovitz. © 2017 Estate of Agnes Martin/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Yayoi Kusama. Accumulation. 1952. Ink on paperboard. The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection Gift (purchase, and gift, in part, of The Eileen and Michael Cohen Collection). © 2017 Yayoi Kusama]