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Associated American Artists records, ca. 1934-1981

Historical Note

The Associated American Artists was created in 1934 with the mission of bridging the gap between artists and their audiences by making fine art affordable, accessible, and attractive for the general American public. The A.A.A. offered new editions of prints to collectors at very reasonable prices. This was accomplished by publishing limited-edition prints of etchings and lithographs by American artists that sold for as little as five dollars each. The organization commissioned original graphic art from many notable American artists, whose art often reflected or commented on the social ideas of the era. All lithographs and etchings were produced in editions ranging from 125 to 250 impressions. Between 1934 and 1945, the organization published more than 600 limited-edition prints. An early collaboration allowed the prints to be displayed and sold in fifty department stores nationwide. Later, the department stores were abandoned in favor of a headquarters in a gallery in New York City. By the 1950s, the organization began to design fabrics as well.
The organization was also notable for its innovative use of modern merchandising and advertising techniques to sell and introduce high-quality artwork to a broad audience. New products were introduced in newspaper articles and magazines that targeted both the public and professional trade audiences. Prints were also advertised on the back of periodicals, which introduced the art to an even wider audience across the country.