A Thrilling Modernist Dream at MoMA


Henri Rousseau’s ‘The Sleeping Gypsy’ (1897) Photo: MoMA, N.Y.
In early 1955, as he entered the final years of his legendary career at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Alfred H. Barr Jr . was asked by his old Harvard mentor, Paul Sachs , to identify his most memorable acquisition. This was no easy question. As the museum’s founding director, Barr had more or less invented the modern art canon by amassing, over the previous quarter century, hundreds of the greatest 20th-century paintings and sculptures in existence.


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