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Armory Show

1913 Armory Show
Armory Show button, 1913
Armory show button, 1913, from the Archives of American Art
Date February 17, 1913 (1913-02-17) to March 15, 1913 (1913-03-15)
Location 69th Regiment Armory, New York, New York
Also known as The International Exhibition of Modern Art
Participants See List of artists in the Armory Show
ArmoryShow poster

Many exhibitions have been held in the vast spaces of modern art in America. The three-city exhibition started in New York City's 69th Regiment Armory, on Lexington Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets, from February 17 until March 15, 1913. The exhibition went on to show at the Art Institute of Chicago and then to The Copley Society of Art in Boston,[1] where, due to a lack of space, all the work by American artists was removed.[2] The show became an important event in the history of American art, introducing astonished Americans, who were accustomed to realistic art, to the experimental styles of the European avant garde, including Fauvism, Cubism, and Futurism. The show served as a catalyst for American artists, who became more independent and created their own "artistic language."


  • History 1
  • Floor plan 2
  • Legacy 3
  • Commemorating the Centennial 4
  • List of artists 5
  • List of women artists 6
  • Images 7
  • Selected painting and sculpture 8
  • Special installation 9
    • La Maison Cubiste (Cubist House) 9.1
  • Sources 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13
    • 1913 Armory Show 13.1
    • Armory shows after 1913 13.2


"A slight attack of third dimentia [sic] brought on by excessive study of the much-talked of cubist pictures in the International Exhibition at New York" by John French Sloan, April 1913.
Exhibition organizer Walter Pach, circa 1909, from the Archives of American Art
Exhibition organizer Arthur B. Davies, circa 1908, from the Archives of American Art

On 14 December 1911 an early meeting of what would become the Association of American Painters and Sculptors (AAPS) was organized at Madison Gallery in New York. Four artists met to discuss the contemporary art scene in the United States, and the possibilities of organizing exhibitions of progressive artworks by living American and foreign artists, favoring works ignored or rejected by current exhibitions. The meeting included Henry Fitch Taylor, Jerome Myers, Elmer Livingston MacRae and Walt Kuhn.[3]

In January 1912, James E.Fraser, Allen Tucker, and J. Alden Weir.[4] AAPS was to be dedicated to creating new exhibition opportunities for young artists outside of the existing academic boundaries, as well as to providing educational art experiences for the American public.[5] Davies served as president of AAPS, with Kuhn acting as secretary.

The AAPS members spent more than a year planning their first project: the International Exhibition of Modern Art, a show of giant proportions, unlike any New York had seen. The 69th Regiment Armory was settled on as the main site for the exhibition in the spring of 1912, rented for a fee of $5,000, plus an additional $500 for additional personnel.[6] It was confirmed that the show would later travel to Chicago and Boston.

Once the space had been secured, the most complicated planning task was selecting the art for the show, particularly after the decision was made to include a large proportion of vanguard European work, most of which had never been seen by an American audience.[5] In September 1912, Kuhn left for an extended collecting tour through Europe, including stops at cities in England, Germany, the Netherlands, and France, visiting galleries, collections and studios and contracting for loans as he went.[7] While in Paris Kuhn met up with Pach, who knew the art scene there intimately, and was friends with Marcel Duchamp and Henri Matisse; Davies joined them there in November 1912.[5] Together they secured three paintings that would end up being among the Armory Show’s most famous and polarizing: Matisse’s “Blue Nude (Souvenir de Biskra)” and “Madras Rouge (Red Madras Headdress),”and Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2.” Only after Davies and Kuhn returned to New York in December did they issue an invitation for American artists to participate.[5]

Pach was the only American artist to be closely affiliated with the Section d'Or group of artists, including Albert Gleizes, Jean Metzinger, Duchamp brothers Marcel Duchamp, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Jacques Villon and others. Pach was responsible for securing loans from these painters for the Armory Show. Most of the artists in Paris who sent works to the Armory Show knew Pach personally and entrusted their works to him.[8]

The Armory Show was the first, and, ultimately, the only exhibition mounted by the AAPS. It displayed some 1,300 paintings, sculptures, and decorative works by over 300 avant-garde European and American artists. Impressionist, Fauvist, and Cubist works were represented.[9] News reports and reviews were filled with accusations of quackery, insanity, immorality, and anarchy, as well as parodies, caricatures, doggerels and mock exhibitions. About the modern works, former President Theodore Roosevelt declared, "That's not art!"[10] The civil authorities did not, however, close down, or otherwise interfere with, the show.

Among the scandalously radical works of art, pride of place goes to New York Evening Sun, entitled it The rude descending a staircase (Rush hour in the subway).[12] The painting was purchased from the Armory Show by Fredric C. Torrey of San Francisco .[13]

The purchase of Paul Cézanne's Hill of the Poor (View of the Domaine Saint-Joseph) by the Metropolitan Museum of Art signaled an integration of modernism into the established New York museums, but among the younger artists represented, Cézanne was already an established master.

Duchamp's brother, who went by the "nom de guerre" Jacques Villon, also exhibited, sold all his Cubist drypoint etchings, and struck a sympathetic chord with New York collectors who supported him in the following decades.

The exhibition went on to show at the Art Institute of Chicago and then to The Copley Society of Art in Boston,[1] where, due to a lack of space, all the work by American artists was removed.[2]

While in Chicago, the exhibition created a scandal that reached the governors office. Several articles in the press recounted the issue. In one newspaper the headline read: Cubist Art Will be Investigated; Illinois Legislative Investigators to Probe the Moral Tone of the Much Touted Art:

Chicago, April 2: Charges that the international exhibition of cubist and futurist pictures, now being displayed here at the art institute, contains many indecent canvasses and sculptures will be investigated at once by the Illinois legislature white slave commission. A visit of an investigator to the show and his report on the pictures caused Lieutenant Governor Barratt O'Hara to order an immediate examination of the entire exhibition. Mr. O'Hara sent the investigator to look over the pictures after he had received many complaints of the character of the show. "We will not condemn the international exhibit without an impartial investigation," said the lieutenant governor today. "I have received many complaints, however, and we owe it to the public that the subject be looked into thoroughly." The investigator reported that a number of the pictures were "immoral and suggestive." Senators Woodward and Beall of the commission will visit the exhibition today. (Ottumwa Tri-Weekly Courier, Iowa, 3 April 1913)[14]

Floor plan

Marcel Duchamp, Jacques Villon, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, and Villon's dog Pipe in the garden of Villon's studio, Puteaux, France, ca. 1913. All three brothers were included in the exhibition.

Tour the galleries

  • Gallery A: American Sculpture and Decorative Art
  • Gallery B: American Paintings and Sculpture
  • Gallery C, D, E, F: American Paintings
  • Gallery G: English, Irish and German Paintings and Drawings
  • Gallery H, I: French Painting and Sculpture
  • Gallery J: French Paintings, Water Colors and Drawings
  • Gallery K: French and American Water Colors, Drawings, etc.
  • Gallery L: American Water Colors, Drawings, etc.
  • Gallery M: American Paintings
  • Gallery N: American Paintings and Sculpture
  • Gallery O: French Paintings
  • Gallery P: French, English, Dutch and American Paintings
  • Gallery Q: French Paintings
  • Gallery R: French, English and Swiss Paintings


The original exhibition was an overwhelming success. There have been several exhibitions that were celebrations of its legacy throughout the 20th century.[15]

In 1944 the Henry Street Settlement in New York, which included more than 300 works.[15]

performance art presentations that united artists and engineers. Ten artists worked with more than 30 engineers to produce art performances incorporating new technology. The performances were held in the 69th Regiment Armory, as an homage to the original and historical 1913 Armory show.[16][17]

In February 2009, the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) presented its 21st annual Art Show to benefit the Henry Street Settlement, at the Seventh Regiment Armory, located between 66th and 67th Streets and Park and Lexington Avenues in New York City. The exhibition began as a historical homage to the original 1913 Armory Show.

Starting with a small exhibition in 1994, by 2001 the "New" New York Armory Show, held in piers on the Hudson River, evolved into a "hugely entertaining" (New York Times) annual contemporary arts festival with a strong commercial bent. The 2008 and 2009 Armory Shows did not hold back on the more crude and vulgar works, which are not unknown for the show, which has been less tame in past years.

Commemorating the Centennial

Five physical exhibitions in 2013 celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1913 Armory Show, as well as a number of publications, virtual exhibitions, and programs. The first exhibition, “The New Spirit: American Art in the Armory Show, 1913,” opens at the Montclair Art Museum on Feb. 17, 2013, a hundred years to the day from the original.[5] The second exhibition will be organized by the

Édouard Manet, The Bullfight, 1866
Honoré Daumier, The Third Class Wagon, 1862–1864
Eugène Delacroix, Christ on the Sea of Galilee, 1854

Selected painting and sculpture

A list written in 1912 by Pablo Picasso of European artists he felt should be included in the 1913 Armory Show. This document dispels the assertion that an unbridgeable divide separated the Salon Cubists from the Gallery Cubists. Walt Kuhn family papers and Armory Show records, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.


The List of women artists in the Armory Show includes women artists from the United States and from Europe who were exhibited in the Armory Show of 1913. Approximately 1/5 of the artists showing at the armory were women, many of whom have since been neglected.[25]

List of women artists

Below is a partial list of the artists in the show. These artists are all listed in the 50th anniversary catalog as having exhibited in the original 1913 Armory show.[15]

List of artists

American filmmaker Michael Maglaras produced a documentary film about the Armory Show entitled, "The Great Confusion: The 1913 Armory Show". The film premiered on September 26, 2013, at the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain, Connecticut.[24]

[23] in producing the show.Henry Fitch Taylor and Elmer Livingston MacRae, from October 9, 2013, through January 12, 2014. The show will focus on the effects of the Armory Show on the Cos Cob Art Colony, and highlight the involvement of artists such as The New Spirit and the Cos Cob Art Colony: Before and After the Armory Show In addition, the Greenwich Historical Society will present [22], from April 4 to June 16, 2013.For and Against Modern Art: The Armory Show +100 The DePaul Art Museum in Chicago, Illinois will be presented [21], which was the only museum to host the 1913 Armory Show, presented works February 20 – May 12, 2013, the items drawn from the museum's modern collection that were displayed in the original 1913 exhibition.The Art Institute of Chicago [20] Showing contemporary work, a third exhibition, The Fountain Art Fair, was held at the 69th Regiment Armory itself during the 100th anniversary during March 8–10, 2013. The ethos of Fountain Art Fair was inspired by Duchamp's famous, "Fountain" which was the symbol of the Fair.[19], 1912, oil on canvas, 45.7 x 61 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Special installation

La Maison Cubiste (Cubist House)

Raymond Duchamp-Villon, 1912, Study for La Maison Cubiste, Projet d'Hotel (Cubist House), plaster, H. 3 meters by W. 10 meters. Image published in Les Peintres Cubistes, by Guillaume Apollinaire, 17 March 1913

At the 1912 [26] "Mare's ensembles were accepted as frames for Cubist works because they allowed paintings and sculptures their independence", writes Christopher Green, "creating a play of contrasts, hence the involvement not only of Gleizes and Metzinger themselves, but of Marie Laurencin, the Duchamp brothers (Raymond Duchamp-Villon designed the facade) and Mare's old friends Léger and Roger La Fresnaye".[27] La Maison Cubiste was a fully furnished house, with a staircase, wrought iron banisters, a living room—the Salon Bourgeois, where paintings by Marcel Duchamp, Metzinger (Woman with a Fan), Gleizes, Laurencin and Léger were hung—and a bedroom. It was an example of L'art décoratif, a home within which Cubist art could be displayed in the comfort and style of modern, bourgeois life. Spectators at the Salon d'Automne passed through the full-scale 10-by-3-meter plaster model of the ground floor of the facade, designed by Duchamp-Villon.[28] This architectural installation was subsequently exhibited at the 1913 Armory Show, New York, Chicago and Boston,[29] listed in the catalogue of the New York exhibit as Raymond Duchamp-Villon, number 609, and entitled "Facade architectural, plaster" (Façade architecturale).[30][31]


  • Sarah Douglas. "Pier Pressure." March 26, 2008. Archived on April 11, 2008.
  • Catalogue of International Exhibition of Modern Art, at the Armory of the Sixty-Ninth Infantry, Feb. 15 to Mar. 15, 1913. Association of American Painters and Sculptors, 1913.
  • Walt Kuhn. The Story of the Armory Show. New York, 1938.
  • Milton W. Brown. The Story of the Armory Show. Joseph H. Hirshhorn Foundation, distributed by New York Graphic Society, 1963. [republished by Abbeville Press, 1988.]
  • 1913 Armory Show 50th Anniversary Exhibition. Text by Milton W. Brown. Utica: Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, 1963.
  • Walter Pach Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
  • Walt Kuhn, Kuhn Family Papers, and Armory Show Records, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

See also


  1. ^ a b International Exhibition of Modern Art, Copley Society of Boston, Copley Hall, Boston, Mass., 1913
  2. ^ a b Brown, Milton W., The Story of the Armory Show, Joseph H Hirshhorn Foundation, New York, 1963, pp. 185–186
  3. ^ 1913 Armory Show, The Story in Primary Sources (Timeline)
  4. ^ a b "New York Armory Show of 1913". Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Cotter, Holland (28 October 2012). "Rethinking the Armory Show". The New York Times. p. 1. 
  6. ^ "Securing a Space: The 69th Regiment Armory". 1913 Armory Show: the Story in Primary Sources. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  7. ^ "Walt Kuhn's Itinerary through Europe, 1912". 1913 Armory Show: the Story in Primary Sources. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  8. ^ , Penn State Press, 2011The Armory Show and the Untold Story of Modern Art in AmericaLaurette E. McCarthy, Walter Pach, Walter Pach (1883-1958),
  9. ^ McShea, Megan, A Finding Aid to the Walt Kuhn Family Papers and Armory Show Records, 1859–1978 (bulk 1900–1949), Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
  10. ^ Theodore Roosevelt's review of the Armory Show for The Outlook, published on March 29, 1913, was entitled "A Layman's View of an Art Exhibition". See Edmund Morris, Colonel Roosevelt (Random House, New York, 2010; ISBN 978-0-375-50487-7), pages 267–272 and 660–663. According to Morris, Roosevelt's review looked with some favor upon the new American artists.
  11. ^ Joel Spingarn, p. 110
  12. ^ Brown, Milton W., The Story of the Armory Show, Joseph H Hirshhorn Foundation, New York, 1963, p. 110
  13. ^ xroads. Univ. of Virginia
  14. ^ , Ottumwa Tri-Weekly Courier (Ottumwa, Iowa), 3 April 1913. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of CongressCubist Art Will be Investigated; Illinois legislative Investigators to Probe the Moral Tone of the Much Touted Art
  15. ^ a b c 1913 Armory Show 50th Anniversary Exhibition 1963 copyright and organized by Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, copyright and sponsored by the Henry Street Settlement, New York City, Library of Congress card number 63-13993
  16. ^ onlineVehicle,. Retrieved September 25, 2008.
  17. ^ documents, history online. Retrieved September 25, 2008.
  18. ^ "The Armory Show at 100". New-York Historical Society. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  19. ^ "1913 Armory Show: The Story in Primary Sources". Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  20. ^ "Fountain Art Fair". Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  21. ^ "Celebrating the Armory Show". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  22. ^ "Armory Show". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  23. ^ Greenwich Historical Society
  24. ^ "World Premier Film Event: The Great Confusion: The 1913 Armory Show". Connecticut Magazine ( 2013. 
  25. ^ Shircliff, Jennifer Pfeifer (May 2014). Women of the 1913 Armory Show: Their Contributions to the Development of American Modern Art (PDF). Louisville, Kentucky: University of Louisville. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  26. ^ , 1912Du CubismeAlbert Gleizes and Jean Metzinge, except from
  27. ^ Art in France: 1900-1940, Chapter 8, Modern Spaces; Modern Objects; Modern People, 2000Christopher Green,
  28. ^ La Maison Cubiste, 1912
  29. ^ Kubistische werken op de Armory Show
  30. ^ , 1913Façade architecturaleDuchamp-Villon's
  31. ^ Facade Architectural"Catalogue of international exhibition of modern art: at the Armory of the Sixty-ninth Infantry, 1913, Duchamp-Villon, Raymond,

External links

External video
MoMA Celebrates 1913: Constantin Brancusi’s Mlle Pogany, Museum of Modern Art

1913 Armory Show

  • , The New-York Historical SocietyThe Armory Show at 100: Modern Art and Revolution
  • Smithsonian, Archives of American Art, Walt Kuhn scrapbook of press clippings documenting the Armory Show, vol. 2, 1913. Armory Show catalogue (illustrated) from pages 159 through 236
  • Catalogue of international exhibition of modern art Association of American Painters and Sculptors. Published 1913 by the Association in New York
  • NPR, Armory Show that shocked America in 1913 celebrates 100
  • 1913 Armory Show: the Story in Primary Sources, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
  • The New Spirit: American Art in the Armory Show, 1913 at the Montclair Art Museum, February 17 - June 16, 2013
  • Virtual re-creation of the Armory Show from the American Studies Programs at the University of Virginia
  • The 1913 Armory Show, askart essay

Armory shows after 1913

  • The "New" Armory Show
  • feature on the 2006 Armory Show (March, 2006)
  • 2010 Armory Show
  • Swann Galleries - The Armory Show at 100 - Exhibition through November 5, 2013
  • Armory Show 2014: List of exhibiting galleries

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