National academy of design

DEFINITION

Founded in New York City in 1825 as an art school, a museum, and association of professional artists to maintain high,academic standards, it was the most important art institution in America in the 19th Century. Setting the standard nationally for art excellence, its existence was key to making New York an early center of the American art world. Only male artists were allowed membership until 1831 when women were admitted. Samuel F.B. Morse was the first president, and the three original members were Morse, Asher Durand and William Dunlap. In turn, they invited other artist members. Listings in NAD annual spring exhibitions for many years brought prestige and important, career-building credentials to member artists, and provided viewers with leading edge artwork. However, rebellions against academic strictures of NAD, began in the 1870s with the introduction of European modernism, and continued into the 20th century with Robert Henri???s Social Realism and the ???shocking??? abstract art of the 1912 Armory Show. Today, the National Academy of Design offers education and exhibitions, but its value is described as being more historic than contemporary. Sources: Matthew Baigell, ???Dictionary of American Art???, Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., ???The Britannica Encyclopedia of American Art???. (LPD)

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