Artists' International Association

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The Artists' International Association (AIA) was an organisation founded in London in 1933 out of discussion among Pearl Binder, Clifford Rowe, Misha Black, James Fitton, James Boswell, James Holland, [1] Edward Ardizzone and Edith Simon.[2]


The first meeting took place in Misha Black's room at Seven Dials. Originally it was called Artists International, but it added the word Association to its name when it was reconstituted in 1935. It continued until 1971, but abandoned its original objectives in 1953, thereafter existing as an exhibiting society.

Essentially set up as a radically left political organisation, the AIA embraced all styles of art both modernist and traditional, but the core committee preferenced realism. Its later aim was to promote the "Unity of Artists for Peace, Democracy and Cultural Development". It held a series of large group exhibitions on political and social themes beginning in 1935 with an exhibition entitled Artists Against Fascism and War.

The AIA supported the left-wing Republican side in the Spanish Civil War through exhibitions and other fund-raising activities. The Association was also involved in the settling of artists displaced by the Nazi regime in Germany. Many of those linked with the Association, such as Duncan Grant were also pacifists.

Another of the AIA's aims was to promote wider access to art through travelling exhibitions and public mural paintings.

See also[edit]


  • Tony Rickaby, "The Artists' International" in Block, number 1, 1979 pp. 5–14
  • Robert Radford, Art for a Purpose. The Artist's International Association 1933-1953, Winchester School of Art Press, Winchester (1987)
  • Robert Radford & Lynda Morris, A.I.A.: Story of the Artists' International Association,1933-53, Modern Art Oxford (1983)


  1. ^ "James Holland, 20th Century Artist". James Holland, 20th Century Artist.
  2. ^ "Biography | The Edith Simon Gallery". Retrieved 2017-07-22.