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About Us

74 years of Traditional Realism in Art

In the 1940's, as the art world moved toward modern interpretations, Harriet R. Lumis, artist and resident of Springfield MA, wanted to promote the study and appreciation of traditional realism in art.

In the spring of 1949, a small group of artists met in Harriet’s studio. Harriet was determined to express their purpose honestly; they chose the name Academic Artists Association. Bylaws were drawn up and the association was incorporated as a non-profit organization of artists working to promote and encourage the showing of realistic art.

Since its inception, the Academic Artists Association has grown from its modest beginnings to a national membership of more than 250. AAA is unique in its list of members. When an artist's work has been selected at least two times for the Annual National Exhibition, they are invited to become a member.

Realism, as defined by the Academic Artist, would be representational art work encompassing a wide range of art from soft impressionism, through detailed photo realism in watercolor, pastel, oil, and acrylic mediums. Sculpture is also exhibited in stone, bronze and many modern and unique mediums.

The Academic Artists has stayed on track by continuously promoting quality fine art and offering these extremely popular national exhibitions to the public.


Harriet Randall Lumis

Born in Salem, Connecticut, Harriet Randall Lumis used the palette and technique of French Impressionist artists and was a founding member of the Academic Artists Association, a group opposed to abstract art.

She married architect Fred Lumis and then in 1893, began art studies in Springfield, Massachusetts. She first painted landscapes with Connecticut artist, Leonard Ochtman, from whom she learned the tonalist style. She also studied with Parker Hayden at the New York Summer School in Cos Cob, Connecticut, and beginning in 1920, with Hugh Breckenridge at his School of Art in East Gloucester, Massachusetts. In 1921, she joined the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors.

In the 1930s, Carson, Pirie Scott and Company of Chicago handled her work, and she moved away from her former heavy impasto technique to a more wash-like, broad application of color. In 1949, she invited to her studio other traditional artists, those standing firm for realism against the encroaching modernism, to found the Academic Artists Association.

For the remainder of her career, she taught private art lessons and remained true to the plein air method of painting. She died in Springfield, Massachusetts on April 6, 1953.

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