Freed From the Shackles of Copyright, These Dazzling Artworks From 1925 Are Finally in the Public Domain

See a selection of images that now belong, in effect, to everyone.

Joan Miró, The Birth of the World, 1925. Courtesy the Museum of Modern Art, © 2018 Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.
Joan Miró, The Birth of the World, 1925. Courtesy the Museum of Modern Art, © 2018 Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

The beginning of every new year is an opportunity to think about new beginnings.

It’s also known, in some intellectual property circles, as Public Domain Day—the day on which, in the United States, the copyright expires on artworks created 95 years earlier. (Before the passage of the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act in 1998, copyright only extended for a period of 75 years.)

This year, artworks from 1925 enter the public domain, including Arthur Dove’s The Intellectual, Tina Modotti’s Telephone Wires, and Joan Miró’s The Birth of the World (all in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art).

All told, it was a momentous year in art, for reasons good and ill.

It was the occasion of the first Surrealist collective exhibition, at Pierre Loeb’s Paris gallery on November 13. A few months earlier, on May 9, Josef and Anni Albers (née Fleischmann) tied the knot. And on September 17 in Mexico City, Frida Kahlo was in the bus accident that would cause her permanent injuries. Artists Robert Colescott, Mario Merz, and Joan Mitchell were also all born.

See more artworks that are now in the public domain below.

Tina Modotti, <i>Telephone Wires, Mexico</i>, 1925. Courtesy the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Tina Modotti, Telephone Wires, Mexico, 1925. Courtesy the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Max Beckmann, <i>Blind Man's Buff</i>, 1945. Courtesy Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Max Beckmann, Blind Man’s Buff, 1945. Courtesy Minneapolis Institute of Art.

René Lalique, wine glass, 1925. Courtesy the Cleveland Museum of Art, © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

René Lalique, wine glass, 1925. Courtesy the Cleveland Museum of Art, © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Joan Miró, <i>The Birth of the World</i>, 1925. Courtesy the Museum of Modern Art, © 2018 Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

Joan Miró, The Birth of the World, 1925. Courtesy the Museum of Modern Art, © 2018 Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

Yoshida Hiroshi, <i>The Acropolis Ruins at Night</i>, 1925. Courtesy Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Yoshida Hiroshi, The Acropolis Ruins at Night, 1925. Courtesy Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Claude Cahun (Lucy Schwob), Marcel Moore (Suzanne Malherbe). <i>Untitled</i>, 1925. Courtesy the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Claude Cahun (Lucy Schwob), Marcel Moore (Suzanne Malherbe). Untitled, 1925. Courtesy the Museum of Modern Art, New York.


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