Society of American Artists

Society of American Artists

The Society of American Artists was an American artists group.[1] It was formed in 1877 by artists who felt the National Academy of Design did not adequately meet their needs, and was too conservative.

The group began meeting in 1874 at the home of Richard Watson Gilder and his wife Helena de Kay Gilder. In 1877 they formed the Society, and subsequently held annual art exhibitions.

Some of the first members included sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, whose work had been rejected from a National Academy exhibition in 1877; painters Walter Shirlaw, Robert Swain Gifford, Albert Pinkham Ryder, John LaFarge, Julian Alden Weir, John Henry Twachtman, and Alexander Helwig Wyant; and designer and artist Louis Comfort Tiffany. Eventually most of the best-known artists of the day joined the group, and many held dual membership with the National Academy.

The cycle of conservative to progressive repeated in 1897 when the Ten American Painters group broke away from the Society of American Artists. The Society ultimately merged with the National Academy in 1906.

See also


  1. ^ W., J. B. F. "Society of American Artists". The Aldine 9 (9): 275.  
  • "A Brief History of The League's Early Years" from the Art Students League web site