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Art Students League of New York

 

Art Students League of New York

Fine Arts Building on West 57th, May, 2009

The Art Students League of New York is an art school located on West 57th Street in New York City. The League has historically been known for its broad appeal to both amateurs and professional artists and has maintained, for over 130 years, a tradition of offering reasonably priced classes on a flexible schedule to accommodate students from all walks of life.

Although artists may study full-time, there have never been any degree programs or grades, and this informal attitude pervades the culture of the school. From the 19th century to the present, the League has counted among its attendees and instructors many historically important artists, and contributed to numerous influential schools and movements in the art world.

The League also maintains a significant permanent collection of student and faculty work, and publishes an online journal of writing on art-related topics, entitled LINEA. The journal's name refers to the school's motto Nulla Dies Sine Linea or "No Day Without a Line," traditionally attributed to the famous Greek painter Apelles by the historian Pliny the Elder, who recorded that Apelles would not let a day pass without at least drawing a line to practice his art.[1]

Contents

  • History 1
  • Other facilities 2
  • Notable instructors and lecturers 3
  • Notable alumni 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

History

Founded in 1875, the League's creation came about in response to both an anticipated gap in the program of the National Academy of Design's program of classes for that year, and longer-term desires for more variety and flexibility in education for artists. The breakaway group of students included many women, and was originally housed in rented rooms at 16th Street and Fifth Avenue.[2]

When the Academy resumed a more typical, but liberalized, program, in 1877, there was some sentiment that the League had served its purpose, but its students voted to continue its program, and it was incorporated in 1878. Influential board members from this formative period included painter Thomas Eakins and sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Membership continued to increase, forcing the League to relocate to increasingly larger spaces.

In 1889, the League participated in the founding of the American Fine Arts Society (AFAS), together with the Society of American Artists and the Architectural League, among others. The American Fine Arts Building at 215 West 57th Street, constructed as their joint headquarters, has continued to house the League since 1892.[3] Designed in the French Renaissance style by one of the founders of the AFAS, architect Henry Hardenbergh (in collaboration with W.C. Hunting & J.C. Jacobsen), the building is a designated New York City Landmark[4][5] and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In the late 1890s and early 1900s an increasing number of women artists came to study and work at the league many of them taking on key roles. Among them was a young Miss Wilhelmina Weber Furlong and eventually her husband Thomas Furlong (artist). The avant-garde couple served the league in executive and administrative roles and as student members throughout the American modernism movement.[6]

Artist Edith Dimock described her classes at the Art Students League:

In his official biography, My Adventures as an Illustrator, Norman Rockwell recounts his time studying at the school as a young man, providing insight into its operation in the early 1900s.

The League's popularity persisted into the 1920s and 1930s under the hand of instructors like painter Thomas Hart Benton, who counted among his students there the young Jackson Pollock and other avant-garde artists who would rise to prominence in the 1940s.

In the years after World War II, the League continued to be a formative influence on innovative artists, being an early stop in the careers of Abstract expressionists, Pop Artists and scores of others including Lee Bontecou, Helen Frankenthaler, Al Held, Eva Hesse, Roy Lichtenstein, Donald Judd, Knox Martin, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Cy Twombly and many others vitally active in the art world.

The League's unique importance in the larger art world dwindled somewhat during the 1960s, partially because of higher academia's emergence as an important presence in contemporary art education, and partially due to a shift in the art world towards minimalism, photography, conceptual art, and a more impersonal and indirect approach to art making.

As of 2010, the League remains an important part of New York City art life. The League continues to attract a wide variety of young artists; and the focus on art made by hand, both figurative and abstract, remains strong; its continued significance has largely been in the continuation of its original mission - to give access to art classes and studio access to all comers, regardless of their financial ability or technical background.[8]

Other facilities

From 1906 until 1922, and again after the end of World War II from 1947 until 1979, the League operated a summer school of painting at Woodstock, New York. In 1995, the League's facilities expanded to include the Vytlacil campus in Sparkill, New York, named after and based upon a gift of the property and studio of former instructor Vaclav Vytlacil.[9]

Notable instructors and lecturers

Since its inception, the Art Students League has employed notable professional artists as instructors and lecturers. Most engagements have been for a year or two, and some, like those of sculptor George Grey Barnard, were quite brief.

Others have taught for decades, notably Robert Beverly Hale. Other longtime instructors included the painters Frank Mason (DuMond's successor, over 50 years), Kenneth Hayes Miller (forty years) from 1911 until 1951, Peter Golfinopoulos (over 40 years), Knox Martin (over 40 years), and the sculptors William Zorach (30 years), and Jose De Creeft, American impressionist William Merritt Chase (over 20 years), and Robert Brackman (19 years), and Will Barnet (50 years) from the 1930s to the 1990s. Fashion illustrator Dagmar Freuchen (20 years) from the late 1940s to the 1970s.

In 1988,

  • Art Students League of New York
  • "Brief History of The League's Early Years"
  • Linea
  • documentationAmerican MastersPBS including some notable alumni
  • Information on the ASL at the Traditional Fine Arts Organization web site, retrieved December 14, 2007
  • "Linea, Journal of the Art Students League of New York" available for download in PDF form; four issues per year (free)
  • Art Students League records, 1875-1955 from the Smithsonian Archives of American Art

External links

  1. ^ "LINEA". Asllinea.org. Retrieved 2013-07-23. 
  2. ^ Cotter, Holland (2005-09-09). "CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK - A School's Colorful Patina - NYTimes.com". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-07-23. 
  3. ^ By CHRISTOPHER GRAYPublished: October 05, 2003 (2003-10-05). "Streetscapes/Art Students League at 215 West 57th Street; An 1892 Limestone-Fronted Building That Endures - New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-07-23. 
  4. ^ "Neighborhood Preservation Center - PDF of original 1968 NYC LPC ruling of landmark status". 
  5. ^ "NYC DOB page for the property indicating Landmark status". 
  6. ^ Clint Weber, Sr. (19 July 2012). The Treasured Collection of Golden Heart Farm: A Biography of Wilhelmina Weber Furlong. Weber Furlong Collection. In the foreword by Professor Emeritus James K. Kettlewell: Harvard,Skidmore College,Curator The Hyde Collection.  
  7. ^ Marian Wardle. American Women Modernists: The Legacy of Robert Henri, 1910-1945. Rutgers University Press; 2005. ISBN 978-0-8135-3684-2. p. 105.
  8. ^ "History". The Art Students League. Retrieved 2013-07-23. 
  9. ^ "Residency". Theartstudentsleague.org. Retrieved 2013-07-23. 
  10. ^ http://www.theartstudentsleague.org/Classes/Instructors/tabid/104/ctl/Detail/mid/498/itemid/66/Default.aspx
  11. ^ "Instructors and Lecturers - Past & Present". The Art Students League. Retrieved 2013-07-23. 
  12. ^ "Peter Busa - Biography". Acme Fine Art. Retrieved 2013-07-23. 
  13. ^ ROBERTA SMITH (1987-03-27). "ART: MICHAEL LEKAKIS - New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-07-23. 
  14. ^ Sisario, Ben (2005-04-15). "Arts > Art & Design > Philip Pavia, 94, an Avant-Garde Sculptor, Is Dead". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-07-23. 
  15. ^ Prominent former members of the Art Students League, Art Students League website. Retrieved online, December 26, 2011
Notes

References

See also

The school's list of notable alumni includes: Wen-Ying Tsai, Cy Twombly, Jack Tworkov, Edward Charles Volkert, Alonzo C. Webb, Davyd Whaley, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Adolph Alexander Weinman, Stow Wengenroth, Anita Willets-Burnham, Ellen Axson Wilson, Gahan Wilson, Russel Wright, Art Young, and Iván Zulueta.[15]

Notable alumni

Other well-known artists who have served as instructors here include John Henry Twachtman, Vaclav Vytlacil, Max Weber, J. Alden Weir, and William Zorach.[11]

[10]

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