Society of American Artists

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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 La Farge, Julian Alden Weir, John Henry Twachtman, and Alexander Helwig Wyant; and designer and artist Louis Comfort Tiffany. In 1897, Laura Coombs Hills became the first miniature painter elected to the Society of American Artists (and one of very few women).[2] 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.

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  1. ^ W., J. B. F. "Society of American Artists". The Aldine. 9 (9): 275. doi:10.2307/20637627. 
  2. ^ "Mary Bradish Titcomb." American Women Artists 1830-1930. International Exhibitions Foundation for the National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1987.

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