National Academy of Design

National Academy of Design
National Academy of Design (48059131596).jpg
Current Building
Formation1863; 157 years ago (1863)
TypeHonorary organization, museum, and school
PurposeTo promote the fine arts in America through instruction and exhibition
HeadquartersManhattan, New York City
Location
President
http://www.nationalacademy.org

The National Academy of Design is an honorary association of American artists, founded in New York City in 1825 by Samuel Morse, Asher Durand, Thomas Cole, Martin E. Thompson, Charles Cushing Wright, Ithiel Town, and others "to promote the fine arts in America through instruction and exhibition."[1]

History

National Academy of Design, one of many Gothic Revival buildings modeled on the Doge's Palace in Venice, seen c. 1863–1865. This building was demolished in 1901.

The original founders of the National Academy of Design were students of the American Academy of the Fine Arts. However, by 1825 the students of the American Academy felt a lack of support for teaching from the academy, its board composed of merchants, lawyers, and physicians, and from its unsympathetic president, the painter John Trumbull.

Samuel Morse and other students set about forming "the drawing association", to meet several times each week for the study of the art of design. Still, the association was viewed as a dependent organization of the American Academy, from which they felt neglected. An attempt was made to reconcile differences and maintain a single academy by appointing six of the artists from the association as directors of the American Academy. When four of the nominees were not elected, however, the frustrated artists resolved to form a new academy and the National Academy of Design was born.[2]

Morse had been a student at the Royal Academy in London and emulated its structure and goals for the National Academy of Design.[3]

Official names

After three years and some tentative names, in 1828 the academy found its longstanding name "National Academy of Design", under which it was known for one and a half centuries. In 1997, newly appointed director Annette Blaugrund rebranded the institution as the "National Academy Museum and School of Fine Art", to reflect "a new spirit of integration incorporating the association of artists, museum, and school", and to avoid confusion with the now differently understood term "design".[4] This change was reversed in 2017.[5]

  • 1825 The New York Drawing Association
  • 1826 The National Academy of The Arts of Design
  • 1828 The National Academy of Design
  • 1997 The National Academy Museum and School of Fine Art
  • 2017 The National Academy of Design

Locations

The Academy occupied several locations in Manhattan over the years. Notable among them was a building on Park Avenue and 23rd Street designed by architect P. B. Wight and built 1863–1865 in a Venetian Gothic style modeled on the Doge's Palace in Venice. Another location was at West 109th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.[6]

Since 1942 the academy has occupied a mansion at Fifth Avenue and Eighty-ninth Street, the former home of sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington and philanthropist Archer M. Huntington, who donated the house in 1940.[7]