Art Students League of New York

The Art Students League of New York is an art school located on West 57th Street in Manhattan, New York City, New York. The League has historically been known for its broad appeal to both amateurs and professional artists and for over 130 years has maintained 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]

Art Students League 215 West 57th Street
Fine Arts Building on West 57th


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] Alice Van Vechten Brown, who would later develop some of the first art programs in American higher education, also studied with the league until prolonged family illness sent her home.[7]

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

In a room innocent of ventilation, the job was to draw Venus (just the head) and her colleagues. We were not allowed to hitch bodies to the heads——yet. The dead white plaster of Paris was a perfect inducer of eye-strain, and was called "The Antique." One was supposed to work from "The Antique" for two years. The advantage of "The Antique" was that all these gods and athletes were such excellent models: there never was the twitch of an iron-bound muscle. Venus never batted her hard-boiled egg eye, and the Discus-thrower never wearied. They were also cheap models and did not have to be paid union rates.

— Edith Dimock[8]

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 G.I. Bill played an important role in the continuing history of the League by enabling returning veterans to attend classes.[9] 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.[10]

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.[11]

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 Frank DuMond and George Bridgman, who taught anatomy for artists and life drawing classes for some 45 years, reportedly to 70,000 students. Bridgman's successor was 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, sculptor Nathaniel Kaz (50 years), Peter Golfinopoulos (over 40 years), Knox Martin (over 45 years), Martha Bloom (30 years) and the sculptors William Zorach (30 years), and Jose De Creeft, American impressionist William Merritt Chase (over 20 years), Will Barnet (50 years) from the 1930s to the 1990s, and Bruce Dorfman (over 50 years).

In 1988, Robert Cenedella took over the George Grosz Chair and presently teaches three courses.[12]

Other well-known artists who have served as instructors here include Lawrence Alloway, Charles Alston, Will Barnet, Robert Beauchamp, George Bellows, Thomas Hart Benton, Isabel Bishop, Arnold Blanch, Louis Bouche, Robert Brackman, George Bridgman, Alexander Stirling Calder, Naomi Andrée Campbell, Robert Cenedella, William Merritt Chase, Dionisio Cimarelli, Timothy J. Clark, Kenyon Cox, Jose De Creeft, John Steuart Curry, Stuart Davis, Edwin Dickinson, Sidney Dickinson, Frederick Dielman, Harvey Dinnerstein, Arthur Wesley Dow, Frank DuMond, Frank Duveneck, Thomas Eakins, Daniel Chester French, Dagmar Freuchen, Wilhelmina Weber Furlong, Michael Goldberg, Stephen Greene, George Grosz, Lena Gurr, Philip Guston, Robert Beverly Hale, Lovell Birge Harrison, Ernest Haskell, Childe Hassam, Robert Henri, Eva Hesse, Charles Hinman, Hans Hofmann, Harry Holtzman, Jamal Igle, Burt Johnson, Wolf Kahn, Morris Kantor, Rockwell Kent, Walt Kuhn, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Gabriel Laderman, Ronnie Landfield, Jacob Lawrence, Hayley Lever, Martin Lewis, George Luks, Paul Manship, Reginald Marsh, Fletcher Martin, Knox Martin, Jan Matulka, Mary Beth Mckenzie, William Charles McNulty, Willard Metcalf, Kenneth Hayes Miller, F. Luis Mora, Robert Neffson, Kimon Nicolaïdes, Maxfield Parrish, Jules Pascin, Joseph Pennell, Richard C. Pionk, Larry Poons, Richard Pousette-Dart, Abraham Rattner, Peter Reginato, Frank J. Reilly, Henry Reuterdahl, Boardman Robinson, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Kikuo Saito, Nelson Shanks, William Scharf, Susan Louise Shatter, Walter Shirlaw, John Sloan, Hughie Lee-Smith, Isaac Soyer, Raphael Soyer, Theodoros Stamos, Anita Steckel, Harry Sternberg, Augustus Vincent Tack, George Tooker, John Henry Twachtman, Vaclav Vytlacil, Max Weber, J. Alden Weir, and William Zorach.[13]

Notable alumni

The school's list of notable alumni includes: Edwin Tappan Adney, Karin von Aroldingen, Ai Weiwei, Gladys Aller, William Anthony, Nela Arias-Misson, Milton Avery, Elizabeth Gowdy Baker, United States Congressman Thomas R. Ball, Hugo Ballin, Will Barnet, Nancy Hemenway Barton, Saul Bass, C. C. Beall, Romare Bearden, Brother Thomas Bezanson, Thomas Hart Benton, Isabel Bishop, Dorothy Block, Leonard Bocour, Harriet Bogart, Abraham Bogdanove, Lee Bontecou, Henry Botkin, Louise Bourgeois, Stanley Boxer, Louise Brann, D. Putnam Brinley, James Brooks, Carmen L. Browne, Jennie Augusta Brownscombe, Feliza Bursztyn, Theodore Earl Butler, Paul Cadmus, Alexander Calder, Chris Campbell, John F. Carlson, Kathrin Cawein, Paul Chalfin, Ching Ho Cheng, Margaret Covey Chisholm, Kate Freeman Clark, Henry Ives Cobb, Jr., Claudette Colbert, Willie Cole, John Connell, Allyn Cox, Ellis Credle, Richard V. Culter, Mel Cummin, Frederick Stuart Church, Joan Danziger, Andrew Dasburg, Adolf Dehn, Dorothy Dehner, Sidney Dickinson, Burgoyne Diller, Ellen Eagle, Marjorie Eaton, Sir Jacob Epstein, Marisol Escobar, Joe Eula, Philip Evergood, Peter Falk, Ernest Fiene, Irving Fierstein, Louis Finkelstein, Wilhelmina Weber Furlong, Helen Frankenthaler, Frederick Carl Frieseke, Wanda Gág, Dan Gheno, Charles Dana Gibson, William Glackens, Elias Goldberg, Michael Goldberg, Shirley Goldfarb, Peter Golfinopoulos, Adolph Gottlieb, Blanche Grambs, John D. Graham, Enrique Grau, Nancy Graves, Clement Greenberg, Stephen Greene, Red Grooms, Chaim Gross, Lena Gurr, Bessie Pease Gutmann, Minna Harkavy, Marsden Hartley, Julius Hatofsky, Ethel Hays, Gus Heinze, Al Held, Carmen Herrera, Eva Hesse, Al Hirschfeld, Itshak Holtz, Lorenzo Homar, Winslow Homer, Thomas Hoving, Paul Jenkins, Alice Sargent Johnson, Burt Johnson, Donald Judd, Torleif S. Knaphus, Belle Kogan, Lee Krasner, Ronnie Landfield, Adelaide Lawson, Arthur Lee, Alfred Leslie, Roy Lichtenstein, Tom Loepp, Michael Loew, John Marin, Reginald Marsh, Knox Martin, Donald Martiny, Mercedes Matter, Louisa Matthiasdottir, Peter Max, John Alan Maxwell, Eleanore Mikus, Emil Milan, Lee Miller, F. Luis Mora, Walter Tandy Murch, Reuben Nakian, Louise Nevelson, Barnett Newman, Isamu Noguchi, Sassona Norton, Elizabeth Nottingham, Georgia O'Keeffe, Roselle Osk, Lyn Ott, Tom Otterness, Clara Weaver Parrish, Betty Parsons, Phillip Pavia,[14] Roger Tory Peterson, Bert Geer Phillips, I. Rice Pereira, Alain J. Picard, Jackson Pollock, Fairfield Porter, Edith Mitchill Prellwitz, Henry Prellwitz, Robert Rauschenberg, Man Ray, Charles M. Relyea, Frederic Remington, Priscilla Roberts, Norman Rockwell, Louise Emerson Ronnebeck, Jacques Rosas, Herman Rose, Leonard Rosenfeld, James Rosenquist, Sanford Ross, Mark Rothko, Glen Rounds, Morgan Russell, Abbey Ryan,[15] Sam Savitt, Louis Schanker, Mary Schepisi, Katherine Schmidt, Emily Maria Scott, Ethel Schwabacher, Joan Semmel, Maurice Sendak, Ben Shahn, Nelson Shanks, Nat Mayer Shapiro, Henrietta Shore, Jessamine Shumate, David Smith, Tony Smith, Robert Smithson, Louise Hammond Willis Snead, Armstrong Sperry, Otto Stark, William Starkweather, Frank Stella, Joseph Stella, Inga Stephens Pratt Clark, Harry Sternberg, Clyfford Still, Soichi Sunami, Katharine Lamb Tait, Patty Prather Thum, George Tooker, Kim Tschang-yeul, Wen-Ying Tsai, Cy Twombly, Jack Tworkov, Edward Charles Volkert, Alonzo C. Webb, Davyd Whaley, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Adolph Alexander Weinman, J. Alden Weir, Stow Wengenroth, Pennerton West, Anita Willets-Burnham, Ellen Axson Wilson, Gahan Wilson, Alice Morgan Wright, Russel Wright, Art Young, Philip Zuchman, and Iván Zulueta.[16]

See also


  1. ^ "LINEA". Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  2. ^ Cotter, Holland (2005-09-09). "CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK - A School's Colorful Patina -". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  3. ^ Christopher Gray (2003-10-05). "Streetscapes/Art Students League at 215 West 57th Street; An 1892 Limestone-Fronted Building That Endures". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  4. ^ "Neighborhood Preservation Center - PDF of original 1968 NYC LPC ruling of landmark status" (PDF).
  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. ISBN 978-0-9851601-0-4. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  7. ^ Brent Wilson; Harlan Hoffa; Pennsylvania State University. School of Visual Arts; National Art Education Association (1987). The history of art education: proceedings from the Penn State Conference. National Art Education Association.
  8. ^ Marian Wardle. American Women Modernists: The Legacy of Robert Henri, 1910-1945. Rutgers University Press; 2005. ISBN 978-0-8135-3684-2. p. 105.
  9. ^ Stephanie Cassidy, Linea, Art Students League Staying Power
  10. ^ "History". The Art Students League. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  11. ^ "Residency". Archived from the original on 2010-09-13. Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  12. ^ "The Art Students League - Instructors". Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  13. ^ "Instructors and Lecturers - Past & Present". The Art Students League. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. 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. ^ Life After the League, compiled by Julia Montepagani Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Lines from the League, Student and Alumni Newsletter, Winter 2011-2012
  16. ^ Prominent former members of the Art Students League, Art Students League website. Retrieved online, December 26, 2011

External links

Andrew Loomis

William Andrew Loomis (15 June 1892 – 25 May 1959), better known as Andrew Loomis, was an American illustrator, author, and art instructor. His commercial work was featured prominently in advertising and magazines; however, Loomis is best known as author of a series of instructional art books printed throughout the 20th century. Long after his death, Loomis' realistic style has continued to influence popular artists.

Calvin Klein

Calvin Richard Klein (born November 19, 1942) is an American fashion designer who launched the company that would later become Calvin Klein Inc., in 1968. In addition to clothing, he also has given his name to a range of perfumes, watches, and jewelry.

Charles Keck

Charles Keck (September 9, 1875 – April 23, 1951) was an American sculptor from New York City, New York.

Dean Cornwell

Dean Cornwell (March 5, 1892 – December 4, 1960) was an American illustrator and muralist. His oil paintings were frequently featured in popular magazines and books as literary illustrations, advertisements, and posters promoting the war effort. Throughout the first half of the 20th century he was a dominant presence in American illustration. At the peak of his popularity he was nicknamed the "Dean of Illustrators".

Dorothy Hood (illustrator)

Dorothy Hood (1902–1970) was an American fashion illustrator.

Ellen Axson Wilson

Ellen Louise Axson Wilson (May 15, 1860 – August 6, 1914), was the first wife of Woodrow Wilson and the mother of their three daughters. Like her husband, she was a Southerner, as well as the daughter of a clergyman. She was born in Savannah, Georgia, but raised in Rome, Georgia. Having an artistic bent, she studied at the Art Students League of New York before her marriage, and continued to produce art in later life.

She was the First Lady of the United States from Wilson's inauguration in 1913 until her death. During that period, she arranged White House weddings for two of their daughters.

Frank DuMond

Frank Vincent DuMond (August 20, 1865 – February 6, 1951) was one of the most influential teacher-painters in 20th-century America. He was an illustrator and American Impressionist painter of portraits and landscapes, and a prominent teacher who instructed thousands of art students throughout a career spanning over fifty years.

Frank McCarthy (artist)

Frank McCarthy (born 30 March 1924 — 17 November 2002) was an American artist and realist painter known for advertisements, magazine artwork, paperback covers, film posters, and paintings of the American West.

George Bridgman

George Brant Bridgman (1865–1943) was a Canadian-American painter, writer, and teacher in the fields of anatomy and figure drawing. Bridgman taught anatomy for artists at the Art Students League of New York for some 45 years.

George Grosz

George Grosz (German: [ɡʁoːs]; born Georg Ehrenfried Groß; July 26, 1893 – July 6, 1959) was a German artist known especially for his caricatural drawings and paintings of Berlin life in the 1920s. He was a prominent member of the Berlin Dada and New Objectivity group during the Weimar Republic. He immigrated to the United States in 1933, and became a naturalized citizen in 1938. Abandoning the style and subject matter of his earlier work, he exhibited regularly and taught for many years at the Art Students League of New York. In 1959 he returned to Berlin where he died.

George Tooker

George Clair Tooker, Jr. (August 5, 1920 – March 27, 2011) was an American figurative painter. His works are associated with Magic realism, Social realism, Photorealism and Surrealism. His subjects are depicted naturally as in a photograph, but the images use flat tones, an ambiguous perspective, and alarming juxtapositions to suggest an imagined or dreamed reality. He did not agree with the association of his work with Magic realism or Surrealism, as he said, "I am after painting reality impressed on the mind so hard that it returns as a dream, but I am not after painting dreams as such, or fantasy." In 1968, he was elected to the National Academy of Design and was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Tooker was one of nine recipients of the National Medal of Arts in 2007.

Kenneth Hayes Miller

Kenneth Hayes Miller (March 11, 1876 – January 1, 1952) was an American painter, printmaker, and teacher.

Knox Martin

Knox Martin (born February 12, 1923) is an American painter, sculptor and muralist.

Born in Barranquilla, Colombia, he studied at the Art Students League of New York from 1946 till 1950. He is one of the leading members of the New York School of artists and writers. He lives and works in New York City.

Larry Poons

Lawrence Poons (born October 1, 1937), better known as Larry Poons, is an abstract painter who was born in Tokyo, Japan. He studied from 1955 to 1957 at the New England Conservatory of Music, with the intent of becoming a professional musician. After seeing Barnett Newman's exhibition at French and Company in 1959, Poons gave up musical composition and enrolled at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He also studied at the Art Students League of New York. Poons taught at The Art Students League from 1966–1970 and currently teaches at the League (since 1997).

Mary Elizabeth Nottingham Day

Mary Elizabeth Nottingham Day, known professionally during her life as Elizabeth Nottingham, (November 29, 1907–April 2, 1956) was an artist and teacher. She preferred to paint outdoors and directly from nature, and was equally skilled in watercolor, ink, and oils.Day grew up in Culpeper, Virginia, which figured in much of her art. She studied at Randolph-Macon Woman's College, and from the late 1920s until 1931 studied at the Art Students League of New York, and it was at the latter that she met Horace Day.In 1936 she became director of the Big Stone Gap Federal Art Gallery, and later that same year became director of the Lynchburg Federal Art Gallery. In 1940-1941 she was assistant state art supervisor of the Works Projects Administration's extension service.She married Horace Day in 1941.She began teaching at Mary Baldwin College in 1941, and continued teaching there until she died in 1956. She and Horace were co-directors of the college's art department.From 1950 until 1956 she sat on the State Art Commission.She also was a board member and was president of the Virginia Art Alliance.At the time of her death, she was gaining significant national recognition.In 2016, she was posthumously honored as one of the Virginia Women in History.

Ronnie Landfield

Ronnie Landfield (born January 9, 1947) is an American abstract painter. During his early career from the mid-1960s through the 1970s his paintings were associated with Lyrical Abstraction, (related to Postminimalism, Color Field painting, and Abstract expressionism), and he was represented by the David Whitney Gallery and the André Emmerich Gallery.

Landfield is best known for his abstract landscape paintings, and has held more than seventy solo exhibitions and more than two hundred group exhibitions. In 2011 he was described by the LewAllen Gallerie as "at the forefront of contemporary of the best painters in America."

Wilhelmina Weber Furlong

Wilhelmina Weber Furlong (1878–1962) was a German American artist and teacher.Among America's earliest avant-garde elite modernist painters, Weber Furlong was a major American artist who pioneered modern impressionistic and modern expressionistic still life painting at the turn of the twentieth century's American modernist movement.She has been called the first female modernist painter in the early American Modernism scene, and she represents the struggles of many women artists in the late 1800s and early 1900s as they became subjugated to the many realists who opposed the American modernist movement and serious women artists.

Will Barnet

Will Barnet (May 25, 1911 – November 13, 2012) was an American artist known for his paintings, watercolors, drawings, and prints depicting the human figure and animals, both in casual scenes of daily life and in transcendent dreamlike worlds.

Yasuo Kuniyoshi

Yasuo Kuniyoshi (国吉 康雄, Kuniyoshi Yasuo, 1 September 1889 – 14 May 1953) was an American painter, photographer and printmaker.

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