Societe anonyme inc.


Known as A Museum of Modern Art, the Societe opened in April 1920 at 19 East 47th Street in New York City and remained active until 1950. Organizing members were artists Katherine Dreier and Marcel Duchamp, and they served respectively as President and Secretary during the Societe's existence. The purpose was to provide a location to exhibit and promote modernist art, a venue that had disappeared with the 1917 closing of 291 Gallery of Alfred Stieglitz. At that time other galleries and museums were unwilling to be exclusive sponsors of contemporary art, so the Society Anonyme became the first museum of contemporary art in the United States as well as Europe. Between 1920 and 1940, the Societe held 84 exhibitions of artwork by avant-garde American and European artists. Also held were radio shows, symposia, readings and performances of modern dance and modern music. The ongoing legacy of the Societe Anonyme was its collection of over 600 works in all media, formed largely by Dreier and Duchamp and bequeathed in 1941 to the Yale University Art Gallery. Source: "Phaidon Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Art"