Modern Artifacts 4: Drawing Comparisons


“[My father] would sit at the desk in the living room in our apartment on the Upper West Side, doing drawings of each object in the show, thinking about how it fit in, where it would shine and make the most of itself…just shifting works of art in his mind and shifting them on paper.”—Anne d'Harnoncourt

The latest installment of an ongoing series presented in collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art Archives features selections from the sketchbooks of former MoMA director René d’Harnoncourt, whose deep reverence for individual objects is clearly evident in a series of drawings related to the 1948 exhibition “Arts of the South Seas.”

Michelle Elligott is Chief of Archives, Library, and Research Collections at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Museum Studies at New York University. Her award-winning publications include Modern Artifacts (2020), René d’Harnoncourt and the Art of Installation (2018), and Art in Our Time: A Chronicle of the Museum of Modern Art (2004). Elligott was a Center for Curatorial Leadership International Fellow in 2016 and a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the Benaki Museum in Athens, Greece, in 2005. She holds a B.A. from Smith College and an M.A. from Hunter College, CUNY, both in Art History.