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Washington Society of Landscape Painters records, 1917-2000

Historical Note

The Washington Society of Landscape Painters is an art society based in Washington, D.C. Organized in 1919, it is one of the oldest artists organization in the Mid-Atlantic region.
The Washington Society of Landscape Painters actually traces its inception to 1916, when Charles Seaton and Winfield Scott Cline and other landscape painters formed a group called the Ramblers.
By 1919, the organization was formally named the Landscape Club of Washington. It met at 1221 15th Street, N.W., in a wing of the home of Florida's Senator Fletcher, where they began holding exhibitions, an arrangement that lasted until the late 1920s.
Activities were curtailed during World War II, but exhibitions continued on a slightly reduced schedule. The annual banquet, a tradition begun in 1927, continued until the start of World War II; more than 35 years later, in 1976, another annual dinner was held. In 1996, the annual luncheon/dinner was reinstated as an annual event, although it is no longer a formal affair.
During the 1950s several outspoken members of the Landscape Club were vocal about their dissatisfaction with modern art, making newspaper headlines. Membership and local press coverage of their exhibitions declined during the 1960s and 1970s, though the group remained active during this period. At various times in the society's history, there has been a club historian who collected material produced by or about the organization and its members that was assembled in a set of scrapbooks titled "W.S.L.P. Archives," covering the years 1919-circa 1976. From the mid 1970s until the mid 1980s recordkeeping was less systematic and very few items have survived to fully document activities of the organization during this period. With a resurgence of interest in the club around the mid 1980s came improved attention to recordkeeping.
In the mid 1980s Landscape Club activities increased. There were more painting excursions, the exhibition schedule expanded, and a number of memorial prizes were established. The organization formally changed its name to the Washington Society of Landscape Painters in 1986. Painting on location and critiques of members work were held quarterly. Field trips, sometimes called "paint outs," sometimes extended longer than a weekend and might be in locations farther from home than previously. The group commemorated its 80th anniversary in 1993, at which time its constitution was amended, opening membership to women.