American art union


An organization devoted to the public distribution by lottery of original paintings, it is credited with promoting many living American artists, shaping American taste, and creating a demand for original art, especially landscapes and genre subjects. Founded in 1844, the Art-Union existed until 1852, when the courts declared the organization illegal. By 1849, there were nearly 19,000 subscribers, each paying five dollars for which they got an original steel engraving and an opportunity to one of the 460 paintings offered that year. Among those members were George Caleb Bingham, Robert Spear Dunning, John Caleb Ward and Frederic Edwin Church, Its successor was The Apollo Association. (See Glossary) Source: "The Britannica Encyclopedia of American Art";