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Société Anonyme (art)

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Title: Société Anonyme (art)  
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Subject: Harry Holtzman, Katherine Sophie Dreier, Mary Quinn Sullivan, Man Ray, Jan Matulka
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Société Anonyme (art)

Catalog cover for the 1926 International Exhibition of Modern Art. (Exhibition catalog: 135 p. :ill.; 26 x 19 cm. John Henry Bradley Storrs papers, 1847-1987. Smithsonian Institution - Archives of American Art.)

Société Anonyme, Inc. was an art organization founded in 1920 by Katherine Dreier, Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp. The society sponsored lectures, concerts, publications, and exhibitions of modern art, including the International Exhibition of Modern Art at the Brooklyn Museum in 1926. Between 1920 and 1940 they held 80 exhibitions showing mostly abstract art.

Man Ray picked the name "Société Anonyme", having seen it in French magazines, but knowing little French, assumed it referred to some anonymous society. It actually means "Corporation", but Duchamp thought it a fine name and later while the legal paper work was being written up the "Inc." was added, making its English translation being: "Corporation, Inc.".

The Société's headquarters in New Jersey closed in 1928, but Dreier continued to organize events, and accumulate artwork to add to the Société Anonyme's collection. Dreier donated the collection to the Yale University Art Gallery in 1941.

On April 30, 1950, the 30th anniversary of the Société Anonyme's first exhibition, Dreier and Duchamp hosted a dinner at the New Haven Lawn Club, where they formally dissolved the organization.


  • by William Clark
  • Catalog of the Societe's collection at Yale, Collection of the Societe Anonyme: Museum of Modern Art

External links

  • Yale University website on Société Anonyme (Disable Firefox Adblock to view the entire site.)
  • Katherine S. Dreier Papers/Société Anonyme Archive at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University
  • In Good Company Hammer Museum exhibition review by Karen Dunbar in X-TRA : Contemporary Art Quarterly
  • Little-known Star Artists Hammer Museum exhibition review by Naomi Hume in X-TRA : Contemporary Art Quarterly
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