Discovering Art Students League Artists at the “New” MoMA

From its inception, the collection of the Museum of Modern Art was intended to be as permanent as a river, according to its founding director Alfred H. Barr, Jr., “a testing ground for works of art which, over a period of several decades, would be given a chance to prove their claim to lasting value.” The museum’s “permanent” collection, in other words, has always possessed an element of impermanence. That evolution makes it fascinating to observe.

On the eve of MoMA’s twentieth anniversary, in 1949, The Art Students League News published a list of twenty-five League instructors whose work had been acquired by the museum. (Among the League’s current faculty, only two painters, Larry Poons and Ronnie Landfield, are represented in MoMA’s collection.) Marking its seventieth anniversary this year, MoMA reopens a stunning expansion with its curators vowing to incorporate underrepresented artists from its collection of 200,000-plus artworks. Will they succeed in upending the modernist canon? As we watch that project unfold, there are even more works by League-affiliated artists spread throughout the twenty-three spacious galleries on the fourth floor. Below is a digital gallery of some of these selected paintings and sculptures along with a few insights about art.

Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA

Alexander Calder
Constellation with Red Object
Roxbury, Connecticut
1943

Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA

Jackson Pollock
One: Number 31
1950

Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA

Lee Bontecou
Untitled
1961

Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA

Philip Guston
Deluge II
1975

Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA

Eva Hesse
Repetition Nineteen III
1968

Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA

Carmen Herrera
Untitled
1952

Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA

Lee Krasner
Untitled
1949

Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA

Norman Lewis,
Phantasy II
September 23, 1946

Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA

Louise Nevelson
Hanging Column (from Dawn's Wedding Feast)
1959

Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA

Robert Rauschenberg
Canyon
1959

Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA

Larry Poons, Night on Cold Mountain, 1962.
Synthetic polymer paint and dye on canvas, 6' 8" x 6' 8"
Museum of Modern Art, Larry Aldrich Foundation Fund
(Not on view)

Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA

Ronnie Landfield, Diamond Lake, 1969, acrylic on canvas, 108 x 168 in. Collection Museum of Modern Art, NYC, Gift of Philip Johnson.
(Not on view but online as part of their collection)

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Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
Discovering Art Students League Artists at the "New" MoMA
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