The American Art Research Council (AARC) was founded in 1942 when the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City proposed that museums across the country establish a collaborative centralized organization for American art research. In April 1942, directors and representatives of 15 prominent museums met and founded the AARC.
Headquartered in and administered by the Whitney Museum, the AARC broadened its scope to include staff from over 30 museums and universities across the country. The organization formed a Committee on Research consisting of experts and scholars of American art that authenticated art, shared research records about artists, and conducted multiple surveys on various subjects. The AARC also facilitated researchers by sharing their information in catalogs and publications.