National Sculpture Society

Founded in 1893, the National Sculpture Society was the first organization of professional sculptors formed in the United States. The purpose of the organization was to promote the welfare of American sculptors, although its founding members included several renowned architects. The founding members included such well known figures of the day as Daniel Chester French, Augustus St. Gaudens, Richard Morris Hunt, and Stanford White as well as sculptors less familiar today, such as Herbert Adams, Paul W. Bartlett, Karl Bitter, J. Massey Rhind, and John Quincy Adams Ward—who served as the first president for the society.

Since its founding in the nineteenth century, the National Sculpture Society (NSS) has remained dedicated to promoting figurative and realistic sculpture. During the years 1919 to 1924, four works commissioned from members of the National Sculpture Society were funded by philanthropist Paul Goodloe McIntire, including George Rogers Clark (1921) by Robert Ingersoll Aitken at Charlottesville, Virginia.[1] Membership worldwide in 2006 was around 4,000 members, including sculptors, architects, art historians, and conservators. Its headquarters, library, and gallery are located on Park Avenue in Manhattan, just north of Grand Central Terminal. There is an entrance to the building from Lexington Avenue also.

The NSS publishes Sculpture Review, a quarterly magazine.

Past presidents of the society have included John Quincy Adams Ward, James Earle Fraser, Chester Beach, Wheeler Williams, Leo Friedlander and Cecil de Blaquiere Howard.

The first woman to gain admission into the NSS was Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson, in 1895. She was followed a few years later by Enid Yandell, in 1899 and Abastenia St. Leger Eberle in 1906. In 1946 Richmond Barthé was likely the first African-American to be admitted.

In 1994 the NSS held their first exhibition outside of the United States at the Palazzo Mediceo Di Seravezza in Italy. Titled “100 Years of the National Sculpture Society of the United States of America in Italy” it ran from the 16th of July through the 4th of September and was curated by Nicky and Stanley Bleifeld along with Costantino Paolicchi in collaboration with Lodovico Gierut and Paolo Giorgi. Among the 60 notable American sculptors whose work was selected for the exhibition were Stanley Bleifeld, Andrew DeVries, Neil Estern, Leonda Finke, Bruno Lucchesi, Barbara Lekberg, Richard MacDonald and Elliott Offner.[2]


  1. Betsy Gohdes-Baten (April 1996). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: George Rogers Clark Sculpture" (PDF).
  2. National Sculpture Society, Finito di stampare nel mese di luglio 1994 dalle EDIZIONI ETS Pisa

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