Hidden Gem: Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators

Hidden Gem: Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators

Although there are no set rules as to how and where one can throw a holiday party, I must admit I was a tad bit surprised to receive an invitation in early December to a festive shindig at the Society of Illustrators on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Why the slight bewilderment? Well mainly because, at the time, I didn’t know such an institution existed. Now, having visited, I’m glad I do. Founded in 1901 by nine artists and one businessman—with the credo “The object of the Society shall be to promote generally the art of illustration and to hold exhibitions from time to time.”—over the years the Society has provided illustrators a center to discuss, demonstrate and exhibit their work, contributes to future artists and the community at large and historically has aided the American war effort in both World War I and II.

Today, the Society’s permanent collection boasts nearly 2,000 works, several of which can be viewed in the many brightly hued galleries within the Society’s five-story townhouse. Currently, the first of the two-part annual exhibition Illustrators 57 is on view thru Jan. 30, 2015. The exhibit—displayed throughout the entire building—features works by leading contemporary illustrators worldwide. The exhibit includes works in the categories of Institutional—including pieces appearing on merchandise, announcements, etc.; Advertising, including works featured in newspapers, magazines or TV; and Uncommissioned, which features all self-generated work. JONAH KINIGSTEIN: The Emperor’s New Clothes: The Tower of Babel in the Art World is also on view at the Society thru February 7, 2015.

If you get hungry while touring the space, a dining room, serving lunch, brunch, dinner and happy hour offerings, is open to Society members, friends and their guests.

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