We have written before about Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art acquiring a DS and displaying it back in April 2018, but did you know that a Citroën DS was featured in a prior MoMA exhibit?

In our Citroënvie archives we came across a press release issued by Citroën Cars Corporation back in 1966 from their office on 641 Lexington Avenue. Oddly, it wasn’t dated but it did say the MoMA exhibit was called “The Racing Car: Toward a Rational Automobile” and there was an end date mentioned for the exhibit of November 27.

A search for the MoMA exhibit titled “The Racing Car: Toward a Rational Automobile” revealed a press release by MoMA stating that the exhibit took place from Sept 27 — Nov 27, 1966.

The purpose of the 1966 MoMA exhibit was to demonstrat­e how innovation­s in consumer automotive­s were rooted in the competitiv­e push of race cars. As such the Citroën DS was a natural choice for all it’s attributes listed in Citroën’s press release.

Although there was a photo that came with the Citroën press release, just reading it one would think that a particular model of an actual Citroën car of that time was on display when in fact just a small scale model and a photo of a DS-21 was shown.

Photo that accompanied the Citroën press release.

In the MoMA press release all the cars chosen were mentioned but it clearly states that the DS-21 on display was only a model.

Clever wording by Citroën in their press release, but imagine the reaction by anyone attending MoMA who read just Citroën’s PR to see only a scale model on display!

Also interesting is that this was the 3rd time MoMA chose to showcase automotive design and innovation.

From Aug. 28 — Nov. 11 1951, MoMA staged an an exhibition concerned with the aesthetics of motorcar design called “8 Automobiles”. It featured:

  • 1928 Mercedes Benz SS Tourer
  • 1937 Cord
  • 1937 Talbot-Lago
  • 1939 Bentley
  • 1951 military M-38 Jeep
  • 1948 MG TC
  • 1941 Lincoln Continental
  • 1947 Cisitalia 202 coupé

In addition to actual cars on display, 8 photographs of these cars were shown:

  • a pre-war Lincoln Zephyr
  • Volkswagen Beetle
  • Porsche
  • 1951 Muntz Jet
  • 1951 Ford
  • Studebaker Champion
  • Maserati
  • 1950 Bentley

And from Sept. 15 — Oct. 4, 1953 an exhibit called “Ten Automobiles” featured:

  • Aston-Martin
  • Cunningham
  • Lancia
  • MG
  • Nash-Healey
  • Siata
  • Simca
  • Studebaker
  • Porsche
  • Comete (french Ford)

However no Traction Avant in either exhibit. Sacrilege!

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