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Museum of Modern Art

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New York. The world's pre-eminent collection of art from the late 19th century to the present day, privately founded in 1929 by a group of collectors. It operated first in rented premises, holding loan shows, but the nucleus of a permanent collection was established with the bequest of Lillie P. Bliss (one of the founders), who died in 1931. The present building, in 53rd Street, was opened in 1939 and it has subsequently expanded enormously in size in various stages (in 1966 it took over the adjacent premises when the Whitney Museum moved from them to its new home). Apart from its unrivalled holdings of painting, sculpture, and the graphic arts, the museum has collections of photographs, films, and architectural documentation, and a large library. Through its permanent collections, exhibitions, and many other activities it exercises a strong influence both on taste and on artistic production. The many publications it has produced include some of the standard texts on modern art, several of them written by Alfred H. Barr, Jr., the first director of the museum.

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