Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Reginia A. Perry


During the first half of the nineteenth century in many cities in Germany, England and the United States, free and public galleries were opened to encourage the purchase of art works. Some sponsoring organizations were controlled by artists and some by interested lay persons. All of the sponsors hoped to educate the public and to elevate artistic taste as well as to sell works of art. Many of the organizations offered a premium in the form of a yearly engraving to induce interest and to promote membership. Often there was an annual distribution of paintings and other works of art by lottery. In several cities in the United States these organizations, which were called art unions, began offering memberships. The largest and most influential in the United States was the American Art-Union in New York. However, their success was short lived; by the mid-eighteen fifties, they had closed their doors.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008