Society of american artists

DEFINITION

A progressive art group organized in New York City in 1877 by a group of young painters, it was led by Cincinnati painter Frank Duveneck. Among the group were William Merritt Chase, Walter Shirlaw, John LaFarge, Eastman Johnson, George Inness, Alexander Wyant, Elihu Vedder, Abbott Thayer, Theodore Robinson, John Twachtman and J. Frank Currier. Other members were Thomas Dewing, William Morris Hunt, William Sartain and Homer Dodge Martin. Their purpose was to challenge conservative dominance of the National Academy of Design and to have exhibitions introducing progressive styles from Europe, especially Germany and France. As a result, the Society provided venues for the introduction of Tonalism and Impressionism and other 'avant-garde' movements from Europe into America. The earliest exhibition of the Society was in 1878 at the Kurtz Gallery in New York City. As time went on, Impressionism dominated the Society's exhibits over the Munich School and Tonalism. In 1906, the Society merged with the National Academy of Design. Sources: William Gerdts, "American Impressionism"; "The Britannica Encyclopedia of American Art"; David A. Cleveland, ???The New York Water Color Club???, ???The Magazine Antiques???, November 2005, pp. 116-121

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