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NYC MoMA Collection | Art Collection at Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art is one of the largest museums of modern art in the world. With almost 200,000 works of modern and contemporary art, this museum is a must-visit in New York. Read more about the MoMA art collection and the artists whose work can be found on a visit to this museum in the heart of Manhattan.

MoMA Collection

In 1929, the MoMA art collection had only 8 prints and 1 drawing. Currently, the evolving MoMA collection is made up of over 200,000 artworks including paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, architecture, film, media, design, and more.

MoMA Collection

1880s-1940s

On the 5th floor galleries of the MoMA Museum, you can find artworks from the years 1880 - 1940.  There are galleries devoted to an artist such as Henri Matisse or a specific creative medium. A few of the famous artworks that you can find on this floor are the Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Picasso (503) and Water Lilies by Claude Monet (515), among others. There are several galleries with new artworks on display where you can observe surrealism, portraits, abstract artwork, and more.

MoMA Collection

1940s-1970s

The completed works of artists between 1940 and 1970 can be found on the 4th floor of the MoMA Museum. From architecture and design to printing, you will find all kinds of artworks in the galleries here. A few famous works to look out on this floor are The Swimming Pool by Henri Matisse (406B),  Andy Warhol’s Empire (411),  and Andy Warhol’s Gold Marilyn Monroe and Francis Bacon’s Study for Three Heads (421).

MoMA Collection

1970s- Present

If you are looking for artworks from the 1970s to the present year, then head to the 2nd floor of the Museum of Modern Art. The artworks here are arranged in loose chronological order with each gallery exploring a particular topic, such as artist, a medium, or discipline. Some of the best works to look out for here are We Hold Where Study by Wu Tsang (213), Whose Utopia by Cao Fei (212), and Dumping Core by Gretchen Bender (204).

NYC MoMA Collection Highlights

NYC MoMA Collection

Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night (1889)

An iconic oil painting that is a major artwork from the Impressionist period, The Starry Night landscape was inspired by the year Van Gogh spent at the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum in France. One can view this masterpiece in gallery 501 of Floor 5 of the MoMA Museum.

NYC MoMA Collection

Henri Rousseau, The Sleeping Gypsy (1897)

The Sleeping Gypsy depicts a dark-skinned woman sleeping peacefully as a lion slowly sniffs at her shoulder. It can be found at gallery 501 Floor 5 of the Museum of Modern Art.

NYC MoMA Collection

Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907)

One of the most popular works of Picasso, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon displays the angular representation of women in a brothel. Visitors can find this artwork in gallery 503 on Floor 5 of NYC MoMA.

NYC MoMA Collection

Henri Matisse, The Piano Lesson (1916)

The Piano Lesson is a personal piece by Henri Matisse that shows his son, Pierre, and his inevitable introduction to manhood. It can be found in gallery 506 of Floor 5 in the Museum of Modern Art.

NYC MoMA Collection

Kazimir Malevich, White on White (1918)

White on White is an attempt by the artist to reach transcendence via supreme manifestation. This radical painting can be viewed in gallery 507 of Floor 5 of the MoMA Museum.

NYC MoMA Collection

Salvador Dalì, The Persistence of Memory (1931)

The artist calls this artwork ‘hand-painted dream photographs’ and one can notice the abstract flow in this painting. It is considered one of the best works in surrealism and can be found in gallery 517 of Floor 5 in the MoMA Museum.

NYC MoMA Collection

Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair (1940)

Frida Kahlo is well-known for her self-portraits and her artwork, Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair focuses on her separation from her husband and her newfound autonomy. One can find this painting in gallery 517 of Floor 5 at NYC MoMA.

NYC MoMA Collection

Lee Bontecou, Untitled (1961)

Lee Bontecou made this piece with canvas from conveyor belts discarded by the laundry. The void at the center of the painting shows anxiety as this artwork was made during a pivotal year in the Americans’ lives. This painting is available in gallery 408 of Floor 4 in NYC MoMA.

NYC MoMA Collection

Andy Warhol, Campbell's Soup Cans (1962)

One of the major artworks in the pop art genre, this artwork is a collection of 32 canvases that display Campbell’s soup cans in different flavors. Check out this artwork in gallery 412 on Floor 4 of the Museum of Modern Art.

NYC MoMA Collection

Roy Lichtenstein, Drowning Girl (1963)

Known for Pop Art, Roy Lichtenstein’s Drowning Girl is a part of the Permanent Collection of MoMA but is currently not on view. The printing method and the use of the speech bubble give it a comic book feel and have been said to be a ‘masterpiece in melodrama’.

 Film

MoMA Collection Film

Media and Performance

MoMA houses time-based art dating since the 1960s. In the department, located on the third floor of The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building, you will find moving images, film installations, video, performance, motion- and sound-based works, and other works that represent time or duration.

Photography

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has a holding of more than 25,000 works of photography that has been curated since 1930. Keeping with MoMA's interdisciplinary methods, the collection includes work not only by photographers, but also by journalists, scientists, entrepreneurs, and amateurs.

Artwork in Public Spaces

MoMA Collection

After the reopening of the NYC MoMA Museum in 2019, the museum trustees decided to display six long-term artworks in the public spaces to celebrate the reopening. These site-specific contemporary artworks can be found in the Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Lobby, the Carroll and Milton Petrie Terrace Cafe, Cafe 2, the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building, and the Louise Reinhardt Smith Gallery. In these public spaces, visitors will see the new artworks by Yoko Ono, Kerstin Bratsch, Goshka Macuga, Phillippe Parreno, and Experimental Jetset.

Furthermore, Haim  Steinbach’s large-scale work, acquired at the reopening, is also on view in the public space spaces.

MoMA Library

The Museum of Modern Art Library is a non-circulation collection of modern and contemporary art. It includes prints, painting, sculpture, architecture, drawings, design, video, film, performance, and emerging art films from 1880 to the present. It also holds a collection of photographs since 1830. There are approximately 300,000 books and exhibition logs, more than 1,000 periodic titles, and 40,000 files on artists and their groups.

The MoMA Library’s catalog is known as Dadabase. This catalog has information on all the materials available in the Library such as periodicals, books, artists’ books, pamphlet files, and more. All researchers can access the library materials by taking an appointment from the proper authorities.

MoMA digital archive

NYC MoMA Collection

In 2016, MoMA made a landmark digital move by making all its past exhibitions from its inception in 1929 available accessible online as a part of their digital archives. Which means, researchers, historians, students and any modern art lover can glance through all the exhibitions and artwork right from their homes. The digital archives include at least 3500+ exhibitions, installation photographs, catalogs, press releases and more. The best part? It’s absolutely free of cost! This goes well with their mission of encouraging a deeper understanding of modern and contemporary art.

Visitor Tips

  • Mornings are the best time to enjoy quieter moments with iconic pieces like Van Gogh's "Starry Night" or Picasso's "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon."
  • You can plan your visit around specific collections to make the most of your visit to the museum. Try setting time out in the mornings for photography, afternoons for modern classics, and evenings for special exhibitions.
  • Plan to allocate at least 2-3 hours to explore the vast permanent collection of the museum.
  • Make the museum's map your best friend on your visit to MoMA! Use it to navigate efficiently and focus on must-see areas like the Sculpture Garden.
  • Guided tours are a great resource for expert insights into the artworks.
  • To fully absorb the diversity of MoMA's extensive holdings without a sensory overload, take breaks between visiting galleries.
  • Make use of the free audio guide to delve deeper into the stories behind key artworks and artists.
  • If you have the time, be sure to explore lesser-known areas like the Prints and Illustrated Books section for hidden gems and unique perspectives.
  • Adhere to MoMA's photography policies, respect artwork, and refrain from flash photography.
  • It’s a fabulous idea to end your visit with a stroll through the Sculpture Garden that offers a serene oasis amidst the bustling cityscape of New York.



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All Your Questions About MoMA Collection Answered

Q.How many pieces of art are in the MoMA?

A. There are almost 200,000 works of modern and contemporary art in the MoMA Museum.

Q. Do I need to buy separate tickets to view the collection at MoMA?

A. No, there is a single ticket to gain viewing access to the MoMA art collection. You can buy MoMA ticket here.

Q. When did MoMA acquire its first artworks?

A. The first MoMA art collection consisted of 8 prints and 1 drawing. The artwork was a donation by Paul J. Sachs, one of the 7 founding trustees of the MoMA museum.

Q. How many exhibitions are held at MoMA annually?

A. There is no fixed number of exhibitions held at the MoMA Museum every year. However, in 2021, there are over 100 exhibitions held at MoMA.

Q. What are the most famous paintings at MoMA?

A. Some of the most famous paintings that can be found in the MoMA Collection are The Starry Night (Vincent Van Gogh), Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (Pablo Picasso), The Dream (Henri Rousseau), Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair (Frida Kahlo), and more.

Q. How many pieces of art from MoMA’s collection can be viewed online?

A. Out of the 200,000 artworks in the MoMA collection, over 92,000 artworks can be viewed online.

Q. How big is the MoMA collection?

A. MoMA collection consists of over 200,000 artworks from around the world that spans over the last 150 years.

Q. How many films are part of MoMA’s collection?

A. NYC MoMA’s collection consists of over 30,000 films and 1.5 million film stills.