The Department of Modern Art surveys painting, sculpture, drawings and watercolors, decorative arts, design, and architectural representations from about 1900 to the present day in more than 10,000 works, primarily by European and American artists. The Metropolitan Museum has been concerned with the art of its own time, as well as that of the past, since its founding in 1870. Many of the objects acquired as contemporary in the early decades of the Museum's existence are now in the collections of other departments—The American Wing, for instance, or the Department of European Paintings.
Those works that entered the collection before the turn of the century and still qualify as "modern" join many, many more acquired over the past hundred years. The strengths of the modern-art collection are housed in the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing. Of particular note are the paintings by members of the School of Paris, such as Braque, Picasso, and Modigliani; paintings and drawings by the circle of early American modernists around Alfred Stieglitz; over ninety works by Paul Klee; large-scale paintings by the postwar Abstract Expressionists; bronzes by Elie Nadelman and Gaston Lachaise; as well as paintings, drawings, and prints by the contemporary German artist Anselm Kiefer. The modern design collection features prominently the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh; the work of Josef Hoffmann and other members of the Wiener Werkstätte; Art Nouveau jewelry by René Lalique; Art Deco furniture by Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann; and Italian and Japanese objects of the 1970s.