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, Peter Laszlo Peri [2] and Edith Simon.[3]


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.

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.

It continued until 1971, but abandoned its original objectives in 1953 and became an exhibiting society.[citation needed] Diana Uhlman had begun to administer the organisation's gallery in Soho. She was the gallery's secretary and it notable helped the artists Edward Ardizzone and David Gentleman. She continued in this role until 1957.[4]

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. ^ 'Artists International Association', Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951, University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII, online database 2011 accessed 18 Feb 2020
  3. ^ "Biography | The Edith Simon Gallery". Retrieved 2017-07-22.
  4. ^ "Uhlman, Manfred [Fred] (1901–1985), writer and painter". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/60810. Retrieved 2020-07-24.