Historic American Art Clubs and Societies


(above: Group portrait at a dinner for Spencer Trask at the National Arts Club, 1908. Courtesy of The New York Public Library)



This section of the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) catalogue Topics in American Art is devoted to the topic "Historic American Art Clubs and Societies." Articles and essays specific to this topic published in TFAO's Resource Library are listed at the beginning of the section. Clicking on titles takes readers directly to these articles and essays. The date at the end of each title is the Resource Library publication date.

After articles and essays from Resource Library are links to valuable online resources found outside our website. Links may be to museums' articles about exhibits, plus much more topical information based on our online searches. Following online resources may be information about offline resources including museums, DVDs, and paper-printed books, journals and articles.

We recommend that readers search within the TFAO website to find detailed information for any topic. Please see our page How to research topics not listed for more information.

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From Resource Library in chronological order:

Bucks County and the Philadelphia Sketch Club (9/13/10)

N. C. Wyeth and the Philadelphia Sketch Club; text by Christine Podmaniczky (4/29/10)

The Society of Western Artists from Making It in the Midwest: Artists Who Chose to Stay; essay by Rachel Berenson Perry (8/25/09) and Making It in the Midwest: Artists Who Chose to Stay (8/25/09)

A Seed of Modernism: The Art Students League of Los Angeles, 1906-53; catalogue essays by Julia Armstrong-Totten, Marian Yoshiki-Kovinick, and Will South (3/4/08)

A Seed of Modernism: The Art Students League of Los Angeles, 1906-53; texts by Marian Yoshiki-Kovinick and Julia Armstrong-Totten (2/29/08)

The Art Students League of New York: Highlights from the Permanent Collection and Selections from the Hillstrom Museum of Art Collection (9/27/07)

Salmagundi Club: An American Institution (12/14/06)

A Noble Tradition: American Paintings from the National Arts Club; essay by Carol Lowrey (2/8/06)

Tunis Ponsen: essay by Susan S. Weininger (12/22/05) see page 8

Ohio Impressionists and Post-Impressionists; essay by James M. Keny (4/8/05)

Salmagundi Club: An American Institution (1/31/05)

Providence Art Club (4/23/04)

Artists of the Salmagundi Club from the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts Permanent Collection (12/20/03)

Arts Club of Washington (11/20/03)

Society of Milwaukee Artists, essay segment by Gay Donahue (9/29/01)

The Development of an Art Community in the Los Angeles Area, essay by Ruth Westphal (7/5/01)

Art for the Great Estates: The Bruce Museum's First Decade (2/21/01) - Greenwich Society of Artists

California Art Club (2/10/01)

A Fertile Fellowship: Celebrating 125 Years of the Salmagundi Club (6/21/99)

Artists of the Boston Art Club, 1854 - 1950 (7/11/98)

Lost Colony: The Artists of St. Augustine, 1930-1950, c. 1997

Taos Society of Artists, by Sarah Beserra


(above: The Couse House and Studio, 146 Kit Carson Road. Photo © 2006 by Barbara Hazeltine. E.I. Couse was a charter member of the Taos Society of Artists.)


Also from the Web

America on Paper: Prints from Associated American Artists is a 2017 exhibit at Cedar Rapids Museum of Art which says: "The CRMA has an extensive collection of AAA prints and this exhibition explores some of the common themes created by AAA artists. To read more after exhibit closes, go to "Past Exhibitions" section of museum website. Also see Associated American Artists records, ca. 1934-1981 from Archives of American Art. Accessed 3/17

A Brief History of the Washington Society of Landscape Painters from The Washington Society of Landscape Painters. Accessed August, 2015.

American Legacy Fine Arts website has an Art Library page, including a link to Building an American Legacy: The National Arts Club by Elaine Adams. Accessed July, 2015.

Art Club (also known as the Old Bohemians and the City Hall Colony) in Cleveland, OH, from The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Accessed July, 2015.

The Arizona Artists Guild was founded in 1928 in Phoenix, Arizona. It is one of the oldest artists' organizations in the Southwest. Accessed April, 2016.

Boston Art Club 1855-1950; Essays by Nancy A. Jarzombek, Michelle L. Hoeffler, Siobhan Wheeler and Robin Dabney; 88 pages; 94 color, 29 b&w plates; Oct. 2000, from Vose Galleries, LLC. Accessed July, 2014

California Art Club and a list of artist members from AskART.com. Accessed July, 2015.

Center for the Advancement and Study of Early Texas Art History & Reference Publications section offer "Lone Star Regionalism: The Dallas Nine and Their Circle, 1928-1945" by Rick Stewart. Accessed July, 2015

The Cincinnati Art Club was founded in 1890 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Its website says it has as its purpose "...advancing the knowledge and love of art through education. This mission has been and will continue to be promoted through exhibitions, lectures, hands-on demonstrations, sketch and painting group work sessions, monthly critique sessions, maintenance of an art library and awarding of student scholarships." Accessed April, 2016.

The Copley Society of Art was founded in 1879 in Boston, MA. It's website says "In 1879, members of the first graduating class of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts felt the need to keep the ties they had formed, and to help each other in their struggle to become prominent artists. In May of that year, largely through the efforts of Alice Spencer Tinkham and H. Winthrop Pierce, the Boston Art Students Association (now the Copley Society of art) was formed." Accessed April, 2016.

The Da Vinci Art Alliance, according to its website "... was founded in 1931 and enjoys a distinguished history in Philadelphia. It was formed to serve the needs of artists and artisans and to promote the edification and appreciation of the arts." Accessed June, 2016

For America: Paintings from the National Academy of Design is a 2019 exhibit at the Dayton Art Institute which says: "This exhibition of 100 paintings by 78 artists tells the story of the National Academy, from the early 19th century into the 21st."   -- To read more after exhibit closes, go to "Past Exhibitions" section of museum website.  Accessed 4/19

A Great Joy: The Women's Art Club of Cleveland is a 2016 exhibit at ARTneo which says: "For nearly 94 years , the Women's Art Club of Cleveland (WACC) provided an important forum for many of the city's most vibrant and productive women artists who worked in a wide range of media: oil and watercolor, sculpture, illustration and design, silversmithing and jewelry-making, enameling, ceramics and textiles." Accessed 2/17 

The Guild of Boston Artists was founded in 1914. It's website says: "...the Guild of Boston Artists was created to be an artist owned and operated gallery. With the mission of promoting both emerging and established artists living in the region, the Guild developed a reputation for excellence in quality and presentation....In the 1930's the Guild became a nonprofit arts association and added educational programs to their roster of events. The mission expanded to promoting the arts though lectures, demonstrations and social gatherings. The Guild was a center for interchange of ideas between the artists and the community." Accessed June, 2016

The History of the Laguna Beach Art Association from a post dated May 27, 2010 in the William A. Karges Fine Art Early California Art Blog, with illustrated texts about exhibits at museums, historic artists and other information. Accessed July, 2015.

Hui Noeau Visual Arts Center, founded in 1934, is the subject of an article by Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi in Honolulu Star Advertiser, August 2, 2015. She says "...Ethel (Baldwin) and her daughter, Frances Baldwin Cameron, were patrons of the arts, and in 1934 they formed Hui Noeau ("coming together for the development of artistic skill"), a group of 20 women who initially met at Kaluanui to pursue their shared passion for drawing, painting and ceramics." Accessed June, 2016

Louisiana Art from the Encyclopedia of Louisiana, a project of Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, contains entries including: "Artists' Association of New Orleans," "Arts and Crafts Club of New Orleans,""Southern Art Union," Accessed July, 2015.

Louisville Visual Art, according to its website, "...has been improving lives through visual art education, community outreach, and artist support for over 100 years." Accessed June, 2016

The Mesa Art League was founded in 1936 in Mesa, AZ. It's website says "...In 1930, Mesa was in the middle of a huge growth spurt which continues to this day. Winter visitors and those seeking a comfortable retirement spot sought out Mesa to vacation in and to settle in the mild climate. Attracted by the peacefulness and beauty of the area, a significant number of artists began to make Mesa, Arizona their home. " Accessed June, 2016

The Painters' Club of Los Angeles from California Art Club. Accessed July, 2015.

Palette & Chisel Academy of Fine Arts was founded in Chicago in 1895 as an association of representational artists. A Wikipedia page on the organizatiion lists some early members, including several covered in Resource Library articles such as Victor Higgins, Edgar Alwin Payne and Walter Ufer. It is listed in TFAO's Illinois Art History. Accessed April, 2016.

Pasadena Society of Artists of California website. Accessed July, 2015.

A History of the Plastic Club by Barbara MacIlvaine, from the Plastic Club. Accessed July, 2015.

The Oak Park Art League was founded in Oak Park, IL in 1921. It's website says it "...is one of Illinois' longest, continually-running non-profit arts organizations. OPAL fulfills its mission through its offering of high quality art education to people of all ages and skill levels, programs and guest lectures, artist demonstrations and critiques, plus monthly exhibition opportunities in our art gallery." Accessed April, 2016.

The Ogunquit Art Association, founded in 1928, according to its website "...has played a central part in the vibrant cultural life of the southern Maine/New Hampshire seacoast for over seventy years. Founded to bring together professional artists to exhibit their work to the public and to provide an educational forum, the OAA affords artists the opportunity to display their finest work." Accessed June, 2016

Patteran: A Living Force and Moving Power, an exhibit focused on the history of the Buffalo-based Patteran Society founded in 1933 and devoted to modernism. The exhibit was held April 10 - September 27, 2015 at the Burchfield Penney Art Center. Accessed February, 2016.

The Philadelphia Sketch Club was founded in 1860, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Its website says it is "America's oldest club for artists. Since 1860 the PSC has served as a meeting place, forum for ideas, and a vital bridge between the creators and supporters of art. Past luminaries have included such American masters as Eakins and Anshutz." Accessed April, 2016.

The Sarasota Art Association, according to its website, "...was established in 1926 as the first arts organization in Sarasota. Founder Marcia Rader, Art Supervisor of the Sarasota School System, was the driving force behind the initial meetings of local art supporters who formed the association. In the early years, the group met monthly and sponsored exhibits in rented facilities." Accessed April, 2016.

The Scarab Club Choose a Google full view books search, enter the words "The Scarab Club" and then when the search results are retrieved click on The Scarab Club, By Michael E. Crane, Christine Renner, Patricia Reed, published 2006. Quote from Google Books: "On the cusp of its centennial anniversary, the Scarab Club (founded in 1907) weaves itself into the city of Detroit's and the state of Michigan's artistic cultural heritage. From its humble beginning as the Hopkin Club to its current status in the 21st century, the Scarab Club focuses on fine, performing, and technical arts and is still housed in its original 1928 building, a historic local, state, and national landmark. The club's exhibitions, programs, and costumed balls, the prominent visitors' and members' signatures on the second-floor beams, and the architectural decor of the clubhouse combine for its unique distinction. From its inception, the Scarab Club's mission has been to educate and enlighten its members and the community in the arts. The organization maintains a clubhouse for the exhibition of arts, provides facilities for artists for the advancement of their craft, and for other activities directed toward the education in the arts." Accessed July, 2015.

The Silvermine Guild of Artists was founded in Connecticut in 1922. The Silvermine Arts Center website says: "...Artists have been drawn to Silvermine since visionary sculptor Solon Borglum moved here in 1908 and established it as a place for artists to gather. The Silvermine Guild of Artists was founded in 1922 and formally incorporated in 1924 when the School of Art was established. ..." Accessed June, 2016

Society of Arts and Crafts of Boston, one of America's first arts and craft organizations, was founded in 1897. Accessed June, 2016.

"The Taos Society of Artists" by Ernest L. Blumenschein, (via Google Books: full view) The American Magazine of Art, by American Federation of Arts, published in volume 8, September, 1917, pages 445-451. Digitized Jul 2, 2007. Original from Harvard University. Accessed May, 2014

"The Taos Society of Artists 1915-1927," article published in Canyon Road Arts, Volume 2, 2006-2007, Pages 108-119, from Mark Sublette, Medicine Man Gallery. Accessed May, 2014

Taos Society of Artists, from The Harwood Museum of Art. Accessed May, 2014

Taos Society of Artists, from Taos Art Museum at Fechin House. Accessed May, 2014

Taos Society of Artists, 1915-1927, from Koshare Indian Museum. Accessed May, 2014

Taos Society of Artists, from Wikipedia. Accessed May, 2014

The Taos Society of Artists, Paintings from the Olson Family Collection, an exhibit held February 6 - April 26, 2009 at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Includes checklist. Accessed 8/14.

The Tile Club: Camaraderie and American Plein-Air Painting is a 2018 exhibit at the Chazen Museum of Art which says: "Tiles formed only a small part of the Club's output. Members made excursions to Long Island and up the Hudson River to sketch and paint. These trips were lively journeys, and the works completed during them document the first plein-air painting organization in the young nation. Tiles, paintings, sculptures, and sketches - many by distinguished artists working early in their careers - are showcased in this exhibition." Link provided by museum to 136-page online catalog which includes illustrated biographies of members. Accessed 3/18

The Vero Beach Art Club was founded in 1936, according to its website "...by six dedicated artists who called their group the "Vero Beach Sketch Club" incorporating as the Vero Beach Art Club in 1954." Accessed June, 2016.

Washington Society of Landscape Painters website. Accessed July, 2015.

Wonderland Way Art Club of Indiana, from Payne Fine Arts. Accessed July, 2015.


Note: In June, 2016, Michael Valente introduced TFAO to several more historic art clubs. We appreciate his work towards identifying American art clubs.


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