Moderna Museet’s collection of international painting and sculpture from the early 1900s to today has been extended successively through purchases, bequests and generous donations.
In 1963, the Friends of Moderna Museet organised The Ideal Museum, an exhibition of foreign works of high quality that were still up for sale. Thanks to a government grant of SEK 5 million, the museum was able to acquire seminal works by artists including Pablo Picasso, Giacomo Balla, Francis Picabia, Kurt Schwitters and Giorgio de Chirico for the collection. This gave Moderna Museet one of Europe’s finest museum collections of 20th century art. In 1973, some 30 American works were donated to the museum in connection with the New York Collection exhibition.
The dominance of France, and especially Paris, over the art scene up until the Second World War is reflected in the Moderna Museet collection, which has a heavy emphasis on cubism, with works by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Surrealism is represented by Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, Meret Oppenheim and Francis Picabia. Thanks to the efforts of former curator Ulf Linde, Moderna Museet also has the world’s largest collection of Marcel Duchamp replicas. Moreover, Alexandra Exter, Vladimir Tatlin and Ivan Kliun are represented in the collection, along with a recently acquired painting by Kasimir Malevich, giving a perspective on Russian avant-garde art from the 1910s and 1920s.
Regarding the period from the Second World War to the late 1980s, the focus of the collection is on American art, with works by Alexander Calder, Eva Hesse, Robert Rauschenberg and 1960s pop art, including key works by Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg and James Rosenqvist. Over the past decade or so, the collection has also been enriched by more art from Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.