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American Art Association Records, circa 1853-1929, bulk 1885-1922

Historical Note

The American Art Association was an art gallery and auction house based in New York City, New York, formed in 1883 by James F. Sutton, R. Austin Robertson, and Thomas E. Kirby. It was the first auction house in the United States.
The Association was founded to promote American art and exhibit the work of American artists in its American Art Galleries in New York City. In its first year of operation, the Association exhibited Thomas B. Clarke's collection of American paintings as a benefit for the National Academy of Design. After the successful management of the public sale of the George I. Seney art collection in 1885, with Thomas E. Kirby as auctioneer, the Association continued conducting auctions and managing estate sales. Austin Robertson died in 1892 and Sutton became a special partner in 1895. In 1912 Kirby's son, Gustavus T. Kirby, joined the Association as a general partner and later also acquired Sutton's interest and became a full partner. The Association was sold in 1923 to Cortlandt Field Bishop, and merged with the Anderson Auction Company to form the American Art Association-Anderson Galleries, Inc, in 1929. The firm was taken over by Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., in 1938.