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. 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 Station. There is an entrance to the building from Lexington Avenue also.

The NSS publishes Sculpture Review on a quarterly basis, which is often referred to as the foremost figurative sculpture magazine in the world. In 2007, both the fiftieth anniversary of the magazine and the seventy-fifth annual exhibition of the society occur.

Past presidents of the society have included John Quincy Adams Ward, James Earle Fraser, Wheeler Williams, and Leo Friedlander.

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.


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