Art in America, the Magazine: a Brief History


by Laurence McGilvery



NOTE: This essay was written in the mid-1990s as a contribution to an encyclopedic work on art periodicals that never materialized. It covers nothing of the later history of the magazine or any developments in the digital age. It may best be regarded as a relic of a simpler time, but perhaps still of some value to those interested in history.

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Art in America was born in New York in January of that watershed year 1913. On the 17th of February the Armory Show opened. Tantalizing though that juxtaposition may be, it was only a coincidence. The publisher, Frederic Fairchild Sherman (1874-1940), was no enemy of modern art, but he had his own agenda, to produce what his obituary in the January 1941 issue (volume 29, number 1) called “the first art journal in this country.” By “first” his successors could have implied “foremost,” but they also meant to identify Art in America as the first serious U.S. art periodical, the first one modeled on the great European standards such as Gazette des beaux-arts and Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst.

A prospectus for the new magazine states in part: ”Art in America aims to further the knowledge of the works of art owned in this country through the publication of scholarly articles… [L]ess attention will be given to Classical and Modern art than to that of the Middle Ages and the earlier and later Renaissance, including the eighteenth century. The art of the near and far East will also be considered. This does not imply any prejudice against Pre-Christian Art [or]… Contemporary Art… Emphasis will be given to painting and sculpture rather than to the decorative arts… There is no reason why an art magazine similar to the best English, French and German periodicals, should not prosper in this country.”1 

Most of the text in this prospectus also appears as an editorial statement on the opening page of the first three issues. Unfortunately, these pages and other similar notices are not reproduced in the reprint of volumes 1-38.2 The prospectus and the statement list the members of an advisory committee: Joseph Breck, George H. Chase, Kenyon Cox, August F. Jaccacci, Albert M. Lythgoe, Allan Marquand, Frank J. Mather, Jr., William A. Paton, and Chandler R. Post. Later members were Christian Brinton, Royal Cortissoz, and Edward F. Forbes. The committee continued to be credited through August 1917 (5:5). After a long hiatus, the listing recommenced in July 1939 (27:3).

The long, diverse, and fascinating history of Art in America is worth a whole dissertation or book. This short article can only attempt to brush in the broad outlines and explore a few of the more intriguing aspects of the magazine’s development. Its eighty-five years (as of this writing, 1998) split neatly into three distinct segments: 1913-40 (1:1-28:4), under its founder, Frederic Fairchild Sherman; 1941-January/February 1971 (29:1-59:1), edited by Jean Lipman; and March/April 1971 through April 1998 (59:2-85:4), edited first by Brian O’Doherty, then by Elizabeth C. Baker. Each of those periods will be treated separately.




Frederic Fairchild Sherman was an author and scholar in his own right. OCLC (The World Catalogue) lists two hundred fifty-nine titles, including duplicates, for which he was the author, editor, or had some other connection; he printed many of them privately, in editions as small as fifteen copies. Many are monographs on American art, including Albert Pinkham Ryder (1920, 225 copies; the first book on the artist). These books remain in demand in the out-of-print book market, as do many of the titles he published by other authors. His literary output also included poetry and over a hundred articles and other contributions to Art in America. Jean Lipman described him as “a totally independent kind of thinker… a very bluff, really delightful person.”3

Despite his modest means, Sherman was a collector of American art, especially Ryder (1847-1917), whom he knew, and whose work he championed all his life. He also dealt in American paintings on a small scale.4 Jean Lipman suggested, “I think Mr. Sherman ran [Art in America] partly to support his art dealer interests. He bought and sold Ryders, and the magazine was a very helpful subsidiary.”

That may well have justified the financial risk of publishing a scholarly magazine of limited appeal, but there was much more at stake. Clearly, Sherman’s intention was to create a forum in which American art would come into its own. To accomplish that end, he relied heavily on European models and European talent.

The first issue set the tone. The great German scholar and museum director Wilhelm R. Valentiner was the editor, a position he was to hold until 1931 (with a hiatus during World War I and some years after). He also contributed an article, “Esaias Boursse.” Among many other authors in the first four issues are Bernhard Berenson, Wilhelm Bode, Abraham Bredius, Max J. Friedländer, Detlev Baron von Hadeln, August L. Mayer, and Gisela M.A. Richter. Later contributors included Phyllis Ackerman, Christian Brinton, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, Raimond van Marle, and Osvald Sirén.

The almost exclusive emphasis on European art did not last long. Although volume 1 contains only a single article on American art (“Whistler: the Self-Portraits in Oil,” by A. E. Gallatin, in no. 3, July 1913; it is also the only article on relatively modern art), the count increased to four in volume 2, when the magazine became a bimonthly, and another four in volume 3. By volume 4 the direction is clear, with a total of ten pieces on the art and artists of the United States, two of them by Sherman himself. This pattern was to continue for forty years and result in studies of scores of American artists, some, like Ryder or Homer, well known, many others completely unknown. 

As promised, Non-Western art, especially Asian, received regular coverage during the early years. In April 1916 (4:3), for instance, R. Meyer Riefstahl wrote “Oriental Carpets in American Collections; Part One,” while Laurence Binyon was the author of “A Japanese Screen-Painting in the Freer Collection at Washington” in October 1916 (4:6).

Modern art made inroads, but slowly, despite Valentiner’s own deep commitment to the German Expressionists; he organized their first U.S. exhibition in 1924 at the Anderson Galleries, New York.5 In October 1918 (6:6), the editors slightly modified their stand on the art of their own time: “Conservative in its attitude, Art in America is not unmindful of the merit of what is best in contemporary art, and aims to keep its readers informed regarding the art and artists of to-day. Its policy covers also the publication of little essays in the fields of the minor arts.” The same issue contains brief articles on Arthur B. Davies and Josef Israels, both by Sherman. By the end of 1940 Art in America had published something under fifty pieces on modern art, about half of those in volumes 14-18 (1925-1930). Among the topics covered were John Marin (9:2, Feb. 1921); Bonnard (16:5, Aug. 1928); Matisse, by Jean Lipman (see below); and the exhibition “Picasso: Forty Years of His Art” at the Museum of Modern Art, described thoughtfully and very favorably by Robert J. Goldwater (28:1, Jan. 1940). Several essays on the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists and studies of other almost exclusively representational artists round out the contributions on contemporary art for the first twenty-eight years of Art in America.

Articles on decorative arts appeared with some frequency during the first ten years, but none on architecture, design, photography, or cinema.

Considering his own accomplishments as both an author and a publisher, it took Sherman a surprisingly long time to begin reviewing books in his own magazine. The first reviews appear in December 1921 (10:1). Thereafter, essays on books appeared at least once in almost every volume through 1940.

In its design, the first issue of Art in America was well-bred and retiring—quiet gray covers; clean, highly legible type with generous margins; and a few  black-and-white plates of average or better quality on coated stock. This style continued, with only minor alterations, for thirty-four years, through July 1947 (35:3).

Throughout Sherman’s tenure, Art in America was an expensive magazine, produced in what must have been very small printings. A publisher’s note in October 1929 (17:6) states: “The edition of the magazine is restricted to a number sufficient only to supply subscribers and current demands, and almost every number is ‘out of print’ before the succeeding issue is off the press.” The first year the cover price was $1.00, and a subscription of four issues cost $4.00. In volume 2 the cover price dropped briefly to 75 cents, but after August 1914 (2:5) it never fell below $1.00 again, gradually climbing to $1.50 in the depths of the Depression, December 1932 (21:1), where it remained through December 1954 (42:4).

By way of comparison, an advertisement for International Studio, itself an expensive English import, appeared in the fourth issue of Art in America (Oct. 1913) at 50 cents per issue and $5.00 per year for twelve issues. A popular mass-market magazine like The Saturday Evening Post  typically sold at the newsstands for 5 cents. The New Yorker cost 15 cents from its birth in 1925 to 1947.

The advertisers in those early issues were nearly as distinguished as the contributors, among them Duveen, Goldschmidt, Gimpel & Wildenstein, and Knoedler.

Although Art in America later became intensely involved in the interplay between art and society, during Sherman’s lifetime—and, indeed, for another thirteen years after his death—it seemed to exemplify the proposition that art was sufficient unto itself. During those troubled decades, two world wars, a financial crash, and the Depression all passed without comment. Even in the world of art, neither the Armory Show nor any of the new isms of art—Futurism, Expressionism, Dada, Surrealism—drew notice. The great fairs—the Panama-Pacific in San Francisco in 1915 with its forward-looking representation of the Italian Futurists, and the World’s Fairs in San Francisco and New York in 1939-1940—went unremarked. Indeed, the first article on an undeniably modernist artist, “Matisse Paintings in the Stephen C. Clark Collection” (22:4, Oct. 1934), was also the first assignment of Jean Lipman, the magazine’s future editor.

The effects of World War I emerged only indirectly, as the U.S. was drawn into the hostilities. In June 1916 (4:4) Bernhard Berenson anglicized his given name to Bernard, and six months later Valentiner’s name disappeared from the masthead after his resignation on 28 December 1916 from the Metropolitan Museum of Art as its Curator of Decorative Arts.6

Valentiner had been serving in the German army since 1914 and had been wounded on the French front. His absence from the U.S. for so long and under these circumstances may account for the otherwise unexplained designation in volume 3 (Dec. 1914-Oct. 1915) of Frank Jewett Mather, Jr., as acting editor. Despite his engagement elsewhere, Dr. Valentiner continued to be identified as editor on the cover of the magazine through February 1917 (5:2), although his name did not appear inside. Announcements in some of these issues were signed by Sherman as managing editor.

German authors disappeared entirely from 1917 to April 1920 (8:3). Dr. Valentiner returned to the magazine in August 1922 (10:5) as a contributor, and to the U.S. the next year. In 1924 he became Director of the Detroit Institute of Art. The previous October (11:6) the following editorial announcement appeared in the advertising pages (it is omitted from the reprint): “With the return of Dr. W.R. Valentiner in the capacity of Advisory Editor, during the ensuing year our readers may expect an unusually valuable and interesting magazine.” Sherman retained his title as managing editor. The two men are listed as co-editors through 1929 (vols. 12-17), and in 1930 and 1931 (vols. 18-19) Dr. Valentiner once again held the position of editor. Thereafter, Sherman was the editor or co-editor until his death.

Even though Art in America may have seemed a haven from the grimness of the 1930s and 1940s, the strain of those years can be inferred from other evidence. Advertising revenue declined precipitously after the 1920s. By October 1936 (24:4), the only ads were for Sherman’s own expensive publications. The frequency of the magazine already had fallen in December 1932 (21:1) from six to four issues per year.

Back volumes and runs had been offered with some regularity as early as October 1915 (3:6). In the month of the Crash, October 1929 (17:6), a set of volumes 1-17 (100 issues) was priced at a staggering $750, nearly half the average family income for those years. Even during the Depression in June 1934 (22:3), the $600 that was asked for the office set of volumes 1-20 (118 issues, over $5.00 each) would have bought a new Plymouth sedan.

The cover of the July 1939 issue (27:3) once again listed an editorial advisory board. The members were Walter W. S. Cook, Sirarpie der Nersessian, Frank Jewett Mather, Jr., Ulrich Middledorf, Charles R. Morey, Chandler R. Post, Agnes Rindge, and Theodore Sizer. Over the next third of a century this board would comprise a virtual who’s who of writers and scholars on art in America. Among the many prominent members at various times were H. H. Arnason, Alfred H. Barr, Jr., John I. H. Baur, Lloyd Goodrich, Katherine Kuh, Dorothy C. Miller, Grace McCann Morley, Edgar P. Richardson, Alice Winchester, and Carl Zigrosser.

Jean Lipman, fresh out of Wellesley and New York University, joined Art in America with the October 1934 issue (22:4). Mrs. Lipman’s entertaining account of her first meeting with Sherman, the assignment he gave her, and how she carried it out is contained in her article, “Recalled Encounters: Memorable Meetings with Artists and Collectors.”7 It is the story of a determined young woman, a famous but reticent collector, and a solicitous butler. Only decades later did Mrs. Lipman learn that the “butler” and the collector were one and the same person. At any rate, she proved herself and must have been a great help to an aging publisher in declining health. As of April 1938 (26:2) she was named Associate Editor, and that placed her the next in succession two-and-a-half years later when Frederic Fairchild Sherman died in Westport, Connecticut, on 24 October 1940.





Jean Lipman is the author or co-author of twenty-seven highly regarded books on American art, especially folk art. Among her best-known works are American Folk Art (with Mary Black; NY: Clarkson N. Potter, 1966), The Flowering of American Folk Art (with Alice Winchester; NY: Viking, 1974), and Calder’s Universe (NY: Viking, 1976), in its eleventh edition, as of 1997. She and her late husband, Howard W. Lipman, formed an important collection of American art, much of it now in the Museum of American Folk Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Howard was president of the latter for some years.

When she took over the helm of Art in America with the January 1941 issue (29:1), the magazine’s assets consisted of “an exemplary reputation, a prestigious advisory board, and 199 subscribers, nearly all of them institutions,” as she told me one sunny afternoon in her apartment in Coronado, California. Over the next dozen years the magazine evolved, first towards greater breadth, and then into a publication even more specialized than Sherman may have envisioned. Six special issues in 1944 through 1948 (vols. 32-6) covered such topics as “American Art Collections” (32:4, Oct. 1944), “Museum Trends” (34:4, Oct. 1946), and Hogarth (36:4, Oct. 1948). Other new subjects included architecture and the relationship of art to politics and psychology.

Lloyd Goodrich guest-edited the October 1945 issue (33:4), “Research in American Art.” It ran to a healthy 104 pages, plus 33 advertisements, and it included no conventional art history. Among its nineteen articles were “Scientific Aid in Attribution,” by Alan Burroughs, and “The Archives of American Art,” by Carl Zigrosser.

Another special issue in April 1947 (35:2) signalled the direction Art in America soon would take. Titled “Winthrop Chandler” and commemorating the two hundredth anniversary of the Connecticut artist’s birth, it consisted entirely of a lengthy study by Nina Fletcher Little, with an illustrated catalogue. October 1947 (35:4) featured the first major redesign of the cover in two colors.

For a five-year period beginning in January 1949 (37:1), Art in America devoted its pages almost exclusively to art of the United States. An editorial announcement states, in part: “No other scholarly journal feels as we do that America’s relatively undefined art history is of greater validity as a subject of study in this country than is the well established art history of other nations… It seems that American taste is still under foreign dominance… To all this we take strenuous exception, and are determined to stress in our own pages the study of our distinguished native art….”

Monographic issues followed on artists such as Christian Gullager, Rufus Porter, and Benjamin West. The entire years 1949 and 1950 (vols. 37-8) consist of only eight long articles apiece, all of them on American art of the nineteenth century and earlier. Book reviews and exhibition notices and reviews disappeared entirely.

After two years of this admirable but rigorous program, the guidelines seem to have relaxed a bit with the publication of articles such as “Modern American Art and Its Critics,” by John I. H. Baur (39:2, Apr. 1951), and “Murals for Haiti,” by Selden Rodman (39:4, Dec. 1951).

The February 1951 issue (39:1) bore the name of a new publisher. Jean Lipman had purchased Art in America from Sherman’s widow, Julia Munson Sherman, for a token sum. “I forget whether it was $5, $10, or $25,” Mrs. Lipman said, “but that was how I acquired the magazine.” At first she instituted some economies. For all of 1951, 1952, and 1953, for instance, the covers were printed in black only, instead of two colors. Between Spring 1952 (40:2) and Summer 1953 (41:3), advertising dropped to zero again, except in the Winter 1953 issue (41:1). The amount of copy kept shrinking, bottoming out at thirty-two pages in Spring 1953 (41:2), but at that exact ebb point the magazine was about to make an abrupt break with much of its past.

The editorial board in that Spring 1953 issue was enlarged from nine to sixteen members. Among the new faces were Virgil Barker, John I. H. Baur, Duncan Phillips, and James Thrall Soby. Of the board’s relationship to the magazine, Mrs. Lipman said: “They were very active. We promised when we asked them that we would have only two meetings a year, but that the two meetings would determine the directions the magazine would take… It was very extraordinary to have a group of people of that calibre running the magazine… Jointly, I think they definitely had a much more objective view and a more widespread kind of coverage than any single editor could.”

In Autumn 1953 (41:4) an announcement of “The new Art in America for 1954” promised “contemporary as well as early American art,” “top authorities in each field,” a new design with text and illustrations “doubled through larger page size, more pages per issue,” and a trial subscription rate of $3.50 instead of $6.00 for four issues.

The Winter 1954 issue (42:1) delivered all it promised. Advertisers jumped on board again for a total of twenty-one pages, including covers. The larger, redesigned cover, once again in two colors, bore the legend “First annual issue devoted to Americans with a future.” Altogether, eleven similar issues were published through 1966, usually under the title “New talent in the U.S.A.” In this initial attempt,  jurors such as James Thrall Soby, Katherine Kuh, H. H. Arnason, and Alfred Frankenstein selected twenty-seven artists, the most familiar of whom today are Grace Hartigan (under the pseudonym George Hartigan) and David Park. “The one thing that we did really badly, but we thought we were doing very brilliantly, was something that was called ‘New Talent USA,’” Mrs. Lipman said. “‘New Talent,’ in retrospect, was really embarrassing… As a board—the bad record wasn’t only mine—we decided which [artists] we wanted to [feature]… We presented Sam Francis for the first time when nobody knew his work, [but]… I think the whole concept of presenting new talent in a magazine is very dangerous. We did very badly, I think.” In its final appearance, “New Talent USA” was the selection of a single individual, collector Larry Aldrich (54:4, July/Aug. 1966).

For the first time since April 1942, a color plate appeared in the May 1954 issue (42:2), which mainly was on the Bernice and Edgar Garbisch collection of primitive American painting. A long section of fourteen signed book reviews appeared in October (42:4). With the next issue (43:1, Feb. 1955), the cover price dropped to $1.00.

Beaumont Newhall’s “The Development of Action Photography” in December 1955 (43:4) was a fourteen-page study of a subject that was virtually new to Art in America.  It included a sequence of small but distinct photographs from Muybridge’s Animal Locomotion of a woman gracefully pouring water, a very early and perhaps daring appearance of full, frontal nudity in a general-circulation magazine.

With the March 1957 issue (45:1), the ownership changed again, when Mrs. Lipman sold an interest to Vision, Inc. of New York. “Actually, the reason we gave up ownership was that our deficit was something like $75, which got to be a little scary.” A buoyantly optimistic memorandum bound into some copies of the previous issue (44:4, Winter 1956/57) states, in part: “…[I]n the past three years the circulation has grown almost tenfold. This growth has shown that the United States thirsts for editorial discussion of American art and art collecting. Further expansion of Art in America was, however, impossible with the present limited facilities… Additional capital has been raised to enable the editors to fully develop, over a period of years, all the potentials of this magazine.”

Lee A. Ault, Sr., president of Vision, Inc., described having met the Lipmans in his role as an art collector and a member of museum boards. “Jean cared a great deal about the magazine,” he recalled, and he agreed to take it over.8 As of Spring/Summer 1957 (45:2), he brought in Anthony Bower as managing editor to handle essentially the same duties that later would be the responsibility of those holding the office of publisher. This, along with the new infusion of capital, gave Mrs. Lipman a great deal more freedom. “Tony Bower was very brilliant,” she reminisced recently. “There was no problem that he ever thought was very serious, and I spent [those] years as editor really problem-free.”

The page size increased in 1956 and again in Fall 1957 (45:3), when the magazine received another redesign. Manufacture moved for the first time from the Pond-Ekberg Company of Springfield, Massachusetts, to Rumford Printing Company, Concord, New Hampshire. The cover price increased to $1.50, and a subscription to $5.00, but the reader suddenly was getting a lot more magazine than before. Color plates began to make regular appearances, and a host of new features included a children’s page, a “Print Calendar,” compiled by the Print Council of America, and “Antiques Shows,” courtesy of Antiques magazine. Although many of these innovations failed to survive, they must have contributed initially to a sense of excitement over Art in America among its potential new readers. In the space of three-and-a-half years, the magazine had been transformed from a very specialized periodical of high but limited appeal to an eclectic marketplace for all aspects of art in America.

If that cat was not already out of the bag, the Winter 1957/58 issue (45:4) made it explicit. Another memo from Lee Ault to readers and advertisers, dated December 15, 1957  states, in part: “…[E]nthusiastic letters from our readers have indicated… that the change has been generally in the right direction toward… our goal… ultimately to become a magazine of national importance concerned with the broad visual aspect of American culture at its best… We hope that Art in America will be enjoyed… by a large audience… We shall not attempt to produce the academic and the professional for a few, but rather something that is thoroughly readable, human and reliable.”

What that two-page insert did not mention, curiously, was the most dramatic change in the magazine’s history, the switch from conventional paper covers to illustrated boards. The “New Talent Annual for 1958” (46:1, Spring 1958) actually was issued both soft- and hardbound. Summer 1958 (46:2) came out in paper and appears not to have been issued in boards. By Fall 1958 (46:3), the decision became final. Art in America was issued hardbound through the end of 1964. The subscription price doubled to $10.00 and the cover price went to $2.95.

That Spring 1958 issue also was notable for the publication of Frank Anderson Trapp’s four-page review of a 45th-anniversary exhibition at Amherst College of some works from the Armory Show. At last, the long, parallel histories of the Armory Show and Art in America had merged.

The gamble that Art in America took with its sudden expansion and physical upgrading paid off handsomely. Judging solely on the content, format, and style of the leading U.S. art magazines themselves, Art in America was the first one that acted decisively to capture the burgeoning audience for art in this country. Art News and Arts would upgrade their design and the quality of their reproductions only slowly over the next decade and more, and Artforum was still four years away from its first issue. Other periodicals, such as American Artist, and Antiques, filled entirely different niches in the market. 

According to a 1962 article titled “A Cinderella Magazine: Art in America,” by John Tebbel in Saturday Review,  “Seven years ago it had no advertising whatever and a circulation of less than a thousand; yet it was alive.”9 By 1960, the first year that a new federal law required magazines to publish their circulation figures, that number had grown to 11,127. The next year it was 14,577, a 30% increase.  ”In 1960,” continued Mr. Tebbel, “it carried an average of forty-seven and two thirds pages of advertising in its four issues.” At the end of the decade, just before Mrs. Lipman’s departure as editor, the November-December 1970 issue (58:6) had a paid circulation of 50,640, for a total growth of 451% in eleven years. The latest paid-circulation figure, published in December 1992 (80:12), was 69,721. Mrs. Lipman observed, “I expect that right now the circulation of the magazine at 70,000 is where they want it to be.” Circulation always has to be balanced against what advertisers can pay. In effect, excessive or overly diffuse circulation drives up the actual cost to advertisers beyond the point of increased benefits to them.

The 1960 circulation statement also reveals a group of seven stockholders, including Lee Ault, his wife Hildegarde, and Jean Lipman, who recalled: “We sold the magazine, and… I forget at what point, we received shares… It was sort of a face-saving, nice kind of thing to do. We thought nothing of them until [the Whitney Corporation took over], and then the shares were worth something.”

With the first issue in 1960 (48:1), the publisher became Art in America Company, Inc. The magazine continued as a quarterly for another three years, through the end of 1962.

At the end of 1961 (49:4) Art in America made its first attempt to overtly influence public policy with an open letter to Robert Moses, president of the New York World’s Fair, challenging him to use the 1964-65 event to promote American art. This was followed in Fall 1962 (50:3) with the cover and thirty-six pages proposing an actual design by Paul Rudolph for an art pavilion at the fair—the “Galaxon”—plus an extensive illustrated catalogue by John I.H. Baur of a fine exhibition that he and a committee already had selected. Unfortunately, Mr. Moses did not take up the offer.

Andrew Wyeth’s suite of sixteen dry-brush drawings, “The Four Seasons,” appeared in Summer 1962 (50:2). The plates were unusually well reproduced, some in color, on heavy, cream-colored cover stock. Comparable treatment was accorded “Alexander Calder’s Circus,” a suite of sixteen drawings published in October 1964 (52:5). Both of these productions were also published as portfolios and sold to the Book-of-the-Month Club, which “paid for the magazine for a few years,” Mrs. Lipman recalled.

February 1963 (51:1) marked the fiftieth anniversary of Art in America and the Armory Show, and both events received deluxe treatment. A thirty-five-page section on the Armory Show included articles by Carl Zigrosser, Beaumont Newhall, and William Carlos Williams, along with previews of related exhibitions in Utica and Manhattan. An editorial recounted some of the history of Art in America and honored “more than a thousand valued contributors.” An eighteen-page anniversary album by ten artists, including Helen Frankenthaler and Richard Lindner, reproduced works especially made for this occasion “to represent the most important currents in our contemporary art.” With the same issue, Art in America became a bimonthly again. The single-copy price remained at $3.95, where it had stood since 1960 (48:2). A year’s subscription increased to $18.00 from $12.50, its price in 1961 (49:3).

The April 1963 issue (51:2) had lead features under the rubric “Art for Everyday Living.” In 1961 (49:4) the magazine had already presented designs by six artists for postage stamps. Now, coins and playing cards received similar treatment. The democratization of modern art was a continuing theme throughout the rest of Mrs. Lipman’s tenure. Later projects included fountains, needlepoint, artists’ games, children’s toys, and playgrounds.

The new year 1965 (53:1) brought yet one more major change. The binding reverted to paper covers, now plastic-coated and increasingly striking visually. “The reason for dropping the hardcover was basically shipping, mailing problems,” said Mrs. Lipman.

August/September 1965 (53:4) consisted entirely of “The Artist Speaks, presented by the Archives of American Art, woven from documents, photographs and microfilm…” This was the last single-subject special issue that Mrs. Lipman edited. Thereafter, most issues combined regular subjects and departments with a major lead article or section such as “Painters and Poets” (53:5, Aug./Sept. 1965), “Art and Technology” (56:1, Jan./Feb. 1968), “Isamu Noguchi” (56:2, Mar./Apr. 1968) and “Crisis/Violence/Reform” (57:1, Jan./Feb. 1969).

The Wyeth drawings “The Four Seasons,” first published in Summer 1962 (50:2) and subsequently issued in a larger size as a separate portfolio had been helping to support the magazine, according to Mrs. Lipman: “It was terrific of [Wyeth] to do this. I think it was very good for his reputation… It subsidized the magazine for at least two years. We were ready to reprint… when Andy Wyeth asked us not to do it. He was about to bring out a book… and he felt this was definitely a conflict… Lee Ault… agreed not to do it. That was the point that Lee Ault decided he would like to sell [Art in America]… It was scary when it began running a deficit.” Mr. Ault confirmed that the magazine still was losing money, despite its rapid growth, and he finally sold it on the advice of his accountant.

In May/June 1969 (57:3), Art in America became a subsidiary of Whitney Communications Corporation, with Wallace A. Sprague replacing Lee Ault as president, and Francis Kloeppel installed as executive editor. Anthony Bower left as managing editor the following year (58:4, July-Aug. 1970).

Jean Lipman recalled the circumstances of the purchase: “Jock Whitney… had just  gotten rid of the Herald-Tribune, and his point of view about a magazine was very simple. You bought it, were proud of it, kept it until you weren’t, and you didn’t bother anybody… I never met him again after we had lunch, just [for him] to see whether I had two heads, I guess. And I explained to him that… it was a two-hour trip into New York [from Cannondale, Connecticut], and I could only work… at the office four days a week… He said, ‘I don’t see anything wrong with that.’ My salary at the time I resigned—and nobody believes I resigned—was what Mr. Whitney thought an editor’s salary should be, based on [what he had been paying] at the Herald-Tribune.”

The July/August 1968 issue (56:4) had a 34-page feature by Donald J. Karshan called “American Printmaking, 1670-1968.” Bound into this issue was a color lithograph by Larry Rivers, which had been printed by the New York office of the famous Paris firm the Atelier Mourlot in the enormous edition of forty-six thousand copies.

A year and a half later, beginning in January/February 1970 (58:1), Art in America published six more commissioned color lithographs by Paul Jenkins, Richard Anuszkiewicz, Alexander Calder, Peter Dechar, Ray Parker, and Robert Rauschenberg. The editions of these prints ranged from fifty thousand at the beginning to sixty-five thousand at the end. In an introduction to the Jenkins print in January/February (58:1), Mr. Karshan wrote: “This direct transmittal from artist to collective ownership is, in my opinion, not only true to the original and broad purposes of graphic art, but is as contemporary a use of the multiple as we can achieve at this time.”

The same article gives a thorough description of the production of these prints. First, the artists created them as conventional lithographs in the workshops of Mourlot, Irwin Hollander, and other lithographers. Then, the large editions bound into the magazine were produced through an ingenious and unconventional application of offset lithography. Art in America published one hundred portfolios containing all six of the original prints “directly hand-pulled from the original stones or plates” and signed and numbered, at the price of $600 ($500 before Dec. 31, 1970). These years, it must be remembered, were the heyday of multiples, posters, and assembled art periodicals like Aspen and S.M.S.

According to Wallace A. Sprague, the new president of Art in America at the time, the 1970 issues were “a financial disaster” because of the costs of creating, producing, and inserting the lithographs in each copy.10 He felt the idea may not have been marketed properly and took much of the blame for this himself. He mentioned a production cost of $1.50 per copy. Circulation did increase significantly in 1970, by 16.5%, but that apparently was not enough.

Another similar project was the immediate cause of Jean Lipman’s departure from the magazine. For a forthcoming issue to be called “Save Our Planet,” six artists had been commissioned to do posters for the benefit of the United Nations: Alexander Calder (“Save Our Wildlife”), Georgia O’Keeffe (“…Air”), Edward Steichen (“…Wilderness”), Ernest Trova (“…People”), Buckminster Fuller (“…Cities”), and Roy Lichtenstein (“…Water”). When Wallace Sprague suddenly cancelled the project in midstream after commitments had been made both to the artists and to the U.N., Mrs. Lipman resigned on the spot. She subsequently obtained a new sponsor for the posters, which were published in 1971 as “An Olivetti Project” and distributed by the U.N. as planned, but they never appeared in the magazine.11

This dispute must have occurred in the late summer of 1970. Brian O’Doherty was hired as editor in September 1970. Mrs. Lipman saw the rest of the issues she had begun through to completion, with January/February 1971 (59:1) marking the end of her era. Feelings appear to have run deep among all parties because Art in America never acknowledged Mrs. Lipman’s departure and her contributions to the magazine.




Brian O’Doherty was hired by Wallace Sprague, who charged him “to make Art in America the magazine of record” in the art world, to create a “more vigorous, dynamic, socially involved magazine.”12 Mr. Sprague confirmed this recollection, saying that “Artforum was the paradigm of what we wanted to do.”

O’Doherty’s first issue (59:2, Mar./Apr. 1971) moved rapidly to stake out new ground. The magazine received a modest redesign and many new features, including “Issues and Commentary,” a wide-ranging forum on art and other topics that still surfaces occasionally. Two of the editorials appearing under this heading in the March/April issue were: “A New Conservatism in the Seventies?” by O’Doherty; and “The Supreme Court and the Flag,” by Fred Graham. The first deals more with aesthetic than political conservatism and notes the emergence of what later would be called Postmodernism: “We are already witnessing the revival of old forms in theater, film and the novel.” The second is an account of the arrest of artist Marc Morrell for using the American flag in a dozen constructions protesting the Vietnam War. Other new departments in this and succeeding issues covered movies and performance art. Three issues later Donald Wall replaced Wallace Sprague as president (59:5, Sept./Oct. 1971).

The July/August 1971 “Special Museum Issue” (59:4) with articles by Linda Nochlin, Edward F. Fry, and others appeared the following year as a book titled Museums in Crisis, published by George Braziller.

Three years after Brian O’Doherty came to Art in America, a publisher’s notice appeared in November/December 1973 (61:6) stating in part: “Brian O’Doherty became editor of Art in America in September 1970… Now Brian has resigned to pursue his career as an artist under the name of Patrick Ireland, and to devote his energies to the National Endowment for the Arts… Our new editor is Elizabeth C. Baker… She has been associated with Art News, our friendly competitor, for the past ten years, the last seven of which she was Managing Editor… The first issue for which she will have total responsibility will be March-April 1974…” She continues as editor in 1997.

Charles R. Lawliss had been named publisher as of July/August 1973 (61:4), but he also departed very soon, about the same time as O’Doherty. Two issues later (62:3, May/June 1974) Paul Shanley became the publisher. For the preceding eight years he had been an independent advertising representative for Artforum and several scholarly art publications, including The Art Quarterly. As he related the story, someone from Whitney Communications called him to ask if he would like to be publisher of Art in America. He had been recommended by both Leo Castelli and Marian Goodman.” Shanley enjoyed a good relationship both with Whitney and with Elizabeth Baker. “Walter Thayer was on the board of the Museum of Modern Art and understood the magazine. We had ten years with no red ink, starting with a $35,000 profit in 1974 and increasing to $550,000 in 1984.”13 Shanley remained as publisher through August 1985 (73:8), when he was succeeded by Sandra J. Brant, the magazine’s new owner. He was most recently the publisher of Arts magazine.

Jean Lipman and the other shareholders created in 1957 by Lee Ault’s purchase of the magazine were listed in the December statements of ownership through 1973. Whitney Communications Corporation bought out their interests in 1974.

John Hay Whitney died in 1982. John Russell’s obituary of him in the April issue (70:4) remembered Whitney as a lover of art rather than as the publisher of Art in America. Two years later (72:5, May 1984) a new sole owner, Brant Publications, appeared on the masthead.

Peter M. Brant and Sandra J. Brant already were deeply immersed in the art world when they purchased Art in America. They were early collectors of Andy Warhol, and their association with him led to their role as backers of his Interview magazine. Mrs. Brant was the coauthor with Elissa Cullman of Small Folk: a Celebration of Childhood in America (NY: Dutton; Museum of American Folk Art, 1980). In addition she and her husband had built an important collection of American antiques and had acquired The Magazine Antiques in February 1984. Paul Shanley spent his final year as publisher combining the administrative functions of Art in America and Antiques into a single organization. 

Almost inevitably, in a world of art where national borders were blurring, often to the point of invisibility,  Art in America has increasingly covered art in new centers of influence within the United States and outside of it. As early as September/October 1973 (61:5), a publisher’s statement commented on the progress of the magazine: “…A series of evolutionary changes have begun… More emphasis is being placed on regional coverage, reviews of exhibitions, significant news, the personalities of the art world.”

Along with its new internationalism, Art in America also made good on its promise of expanded regional reporting, including one whole issue called “Art across America” (64:4, July/Aug. 1976). At least one issue in most of the last twenty-one years has been devoted largely or entirely to a single subject. Characteristic examples include “The American Indian” (60:4, July/Aug. 1972), “New York” (65:4, July/Aug. 1977), “Picasso” (68:10, Dec. 1980), “Expressionism” (in two parts; 70:11 and 71:1, Dec. 1982 and Jan. 1983), and “Art and Money” (twice; 76:7 and 78:7, July 1988 and 1990).

The November/December 1978 issue (66:6) featured a very moving five-page tribute to Thomas B. Hess (1920-1978), the former editor of Art News and the mentor of Art in America’s editor, Elizabeth C. Baker. Among the contributors are Donald Barthelme, Barbara Rose, and Meyer Schapiro.

“Artworld,” a regular page of art news began appearing at the back of the magazine in November/December 1975 (63:6), and “Front Page,” devoted to longer news articles, commenced much later, in January 1989 (77:1). Letters and ensuing controversies also became far more prominent than during the magazine’s earlier history.

Throughout its long history Art in America had produced various directories of artists, galleries, and the like. With the August 1982 issue (70:7) these separate and intermittent efforts finally coalesced into one of the most useful art publications of the past fifteen years. The “1982 Annual Guide to Galleries, Museums, Artists” runs to 280 densely packed pages. It includes: a 120-page guide to more than 2100 U.S. museums, galleries, and alternative spaces; an alphabetical index to the guide; an index to over 750 catalogues of one-person exhibitions, with pagination and prices; a 32-page, five-column index to over 12,000 artists exhibiting in galleries listed in the guide; an index to volume 69 (1981) of Art in America; and several other features. Later volumes have added new features and refined the old ones. The 1996 edition lists 4898 museums and galleries in 140 pages. The value of the annual can be gauged by the large demand for it. Consistently, it is one of the most sought-after back issues each year.

Art in America has been redesigned several times since 1971, and it has twice changed size: from 12 x 9 inches to 11-1/8 x 8-1/2 inches in September/October 1976 (64:5); then to 10-7/8 x 9 inches in September 1987 (75:9). The frequency of the magazine remained constant through July/August 1979 (67:4), but with the September issue it went first to eight numbers per year, then ten (vol. 68, 1980), then eleven (vol. 70, 1982), and finally twelve (vol. 73, 1985).

When Jean Lipman left Art in America in 1971, the paid circulation was about 50,000 copies. Over the next fifteen years it stayed between 44,000 and 52,000. The cover price gradually rose from $3.00 to its present $4.95. The subscription cost went up, of course, as the frequency of publication increased, from $16.50 for six issues in 1975 to $39.95 for twelve issues in 1986 (74:5, May). In the mid-1980s the circulation began to climb to its most recent level of 69,721 average paid copies throughout the 1992 accounting period.

The magazine added editorial and advertising pages as long as the art surge of the 1980s continued. An average issue in 1984 (72:5, May) has 208 pages, with 249 advertisers occupying 112-1/2 pages, plus three covers. Another ten pages are devoted to an “International Exhibitions Directory,” also paid listings, presumably. In the shrinking art market of 1992, the May issue (80:5) has 160 pages and 129 advertisers on 91 pages, plus three covers.

At this writing, the April 1997 Art in America (85:4) has just arrived, the 543rd number since its founding more than eighty-four years ago, and fifty-six years since the death of Frederic Fairchild Sherman. What a difference eighty-four years makes, or fifty-six, or even twenty-six.

Speaking in 1992 of her then-nearly eighteen years as editor, Elizabeth Baker described how much she thought Art in America had changed since the early 1970s. “Starting with Brian O’Doherty the magazine has been increasingly international in its outlook and coverage.”14 Although the constituency for contemporary art continues to grow, the fragmented nature of the audience makes it a challenge to reach all the elements of the art world. “We walk a fine line between hard-core readers and the more general reading public.” Especially in recent years, the editor and publisher alike have responded to “the current politicization of art and the ways in which the whole character of the art world has been enriched by cultural cross currents.”

Thus the democratic impulse continues to assert itself. Even though he followed tradition in the style and form of the obscure little magazine he created for a minuscule but influential audience, Frederic Fairchild Sherman challenged that tradition by the very act of posing—and answering—a question of enormous import: does American art matter? Jean Lipman was driven by the democratic impulse for thirty years, as this account has shown. The current issue with its vivid illustrations and its diverse contents declares that anyone who cares to open the magazine and read it—or the competition, Artforum, Art News, Flash Art, Parkett, etc., etc.—may enter into this dialogue, aspire to this world. Frederic Fairchild Sherman should demand no more of his long-lived progeny.




1            This prospectus, issued at 12 W. 45th St., New York, probably in 1912, is laid into the first volume of the excellent complete set donated by Jean Lipman to the Whitney Museum of American Art Library. The set contains all advertising material and covers. Without access to it and help on more than one occasion from May Castleberry and Julie Mellby, much of the early history of the magazine would have been out of reach for this article.

2            New York: AMS Reprint Co., 1964. Vols. 1-38 (1913-1950).

3            This and other direct quotations are taken from the author’s interview with Jean Lipman on Monday, 19 August 1991, in Coronado, California. A copy of the tape recording and a somewhat edited transcript have been deposited with the Archives of American Art in Washington, DC. The interview was supplemented with telephone calls and a letter of 18 January 1993 (see Note 11). Mrs. Lipman cautioned that her recollections of some events may not be entirely reliable after the passage of up to fifty years and more. 

4            In April 1922 (10:3), from 8 W. 47th St., the same address as Art in America, Sherman advertised works by the following artists: Ralph A. Blakelock, W. Gedney Bunce, Winslow Homer, George Inness, Homer D. Martin, Robert L. Newman, Albert P. Ryder, John S. Sargent, John H. Twachtman, and Alexander H. Wyant; in later notices he added Frank Duveneck to his offerings

5            Masterpieces of Art: in Memory of Wilhelm R. Valentiner; Representing His Achievements During Fifty Years of Service in American Museums. Raleigh: North Carolina Museum of Art, 1959. Chronology, p. 2.

6            New York Times, 25 Oct. 1940, p. 21.

7            Archives of American Art. Journal. Vol. 31, no. 1, 1991. Pp. 20-4.

8            Telephone interview with the late Lee A. Ault, Sr. on 18 October 1992. Not tape recorded. Mr. Ault’s collection was exhibited at the Valentine Gallery, New York, on April 10th to April 29th, 1944, to benefit the American Field Service. It was an eclectic group of modern works, mostly by major European artists: Cézanne, Degas, Gauguin, Gris, Matisse, Picasso, Rouault, and others; despite the title of the catalogue, Modern Paintings: the Lee Ault Collection, the exhibit also included a sculpture each by Brancusi and Despiau and four African sculptures.

Citation: NY. Valentine Gallery. Modern paintings: the Lee Ault collection. Exhibition April 10th to April 29th 1944 for the benefit of the American Field Service. 1944. Wrs. [27] pp. (68 pieces described) + [32] pls.

9            Tebbel, John. “Cinderella Magazine: ‘Art in America.’” Saturday Review, vol. 54, no. 41, 13 Oct. 1962. Pp. 54-55. 

10            This and other direct quotations are taken from a telephone interview with Wallace A. Sprague on 11 November 1992. A summary of the interview has been added to the Jean Lipman transcript described in Note 2 above, and deposited with the Archives of American Art in Washington, D.C. The conversation with Mr. Sprague was notable for his cheerful self-deprecation, his admission of errors during his term as president, and his continuing respect for Mrs. Lipman, despite their disagreements.

11            Jean Lipman’s letter of 18 January 1993 to the present author describing this event in greater detail has been deposited with the Archives of American Art. Her account reads in part: “Wallace Sprague had asked the J & B Scotch Company… to fund this project… [S]ome time after the posters were completed, [he] suddenly decided that it was ‘undignified’ for a feature in the magazine to be sponsored by a liquor company, and asked Mrs. Lipman to cancel the project. By that time, with the poster designs completed for publication in the magazine, the artists were owed their fees, and the project [had been] endorsed by the United Nations… After Jean Lipman’s detailed explanation of all this, Mr. Sprague said, ‘You are the Editor but I am the President of the Company, and I’m telling, not asking, you to cancel the project.’ Mrs. Lipman replied that… as of that minute [she had] resigned.” Mrs. Lipman states that this account is newly drawn from notes and records she made at the time, and that it is absolutely accurate. It differs in several important details from the story told by Mr. Sprague during his interview. In his version, the magazine had been approached by a liquor company, Buckingham Distillers, to produce a promotional scheme that would enhance the company’s image through art. An advertising agency would have been the proper vehicle for developing an appropriate idea, but someone at Art in America—it may have been Mr. Sprague himself—came up with the idea for “Save Our Planet.” Art in America never actually received any funds from the liquor company, and it was questions of cost, not propriety, that brought on his ultimatum to Mrs. Lipman. Although additional information may exist in the files of either Art in America or the Whitney Corporation, examining those sources was beyond the scope of this article. Mrs. Lipman donated her personal set of the posters to the Phoenix Art Museum. Clayton C. Kirking, the museum’s librarian, kindly examined them and confirmed some of the details supplied.

12            Telephone interview with Brian O’Doherty on 4 November 1992. A summary of highlights from the conversation has been added to the Jean Lipman transcript described in Note 2 above, and deposited with the Archives of American Art in Washington, D.C.

13            Telephone interview with Paul Shanley on 22 December 1992. A summary of highlights from the conversation has been added to the Jean Lipman transcript described in Note 2 above, and deposited with the Archives of American Art in Washington, D.C.

14            Telephone interview with Elizabeth C. Baker on 3 December 1992. A summary of highlights from the conversation has been added to the Jean Lipman transcript described in Note 2 above, and deposited with the Archives of American Art in Washington, D.C.


Information Sources


Index Sources

Yearly indexes were published through at least volume 39 (1951). The first annual guide (Ag 1982, 70:7) contained an index for volume 69 (1981); that feature has been maintained since then. There is no cumulative index. In the following listing, asterisked (*) indexes are available on line or in electronic versions. Art Design Photo: 1972 [and later vols.]. [Comp. by] Alexander Davis. *Art Index. From vol. 17, no. 2 (Feb. 1929). *ARTbibliographies Modern (vols. 1-3, 1969-1971, as LOMA: Literature on Modern Art, compiled by Alexander Davis). *Arts and Humanities Citation Index. From 1976 (vol. 64?). Art Institute of Chicago. Ryerson Library. Index to Art Periodicals. Vols. 1-17 of Art in America only (1913-1929). *Columbia University. Avery Architectural Library. Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. 2nd ed., 1973. Approximately vols. 22-61 (1934-1971). *RILA: répertoire internationale de la littérature de l’art; International Repertory of the Literature of Art. From vol. 62 (1974). Also in Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature and several specialized indexes.


Location Sources

Nearly all art and general libraries.


Reprint and Microform Editions

AMS Reprint Co., New York, 1964 (reprint, vols. 1-38 only, 1913-1950; also as microfilm from AMS Film). Kraus Reprint, Millwood, N.Y. (microfiche, vols. 1-64, 1913-1976). Pergamon Press, Tarrytown, N.Y. (microfilm). University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, Mich. (microfilm and microfiche, vols. 1- ).


Manuscript Collections

Archives of American Art, Washington, DC. Records, 1937-1956, including correspondence with artists, critics, scholars, and dealers. Total: ca. 11,000 items. Gift of Jean Lipman, 1957. No microfilm. The author was unable to consult this massive resource for the preparation of this article.


Publication History


Magazine Title and Title Changes

Art in America: an Illustrated Quarterly (vol. 1, 1913); Art in America: an Illustrated Magazine (vols. 2-9, Dec. 1913-1921; subtitle may vary within each issue and from volume to volume); Art in America and Elsewhere: an Illustrated Magazine Published Bi-monthly (vols. 10-20, Dec. 1921-Oct. 1932; subtitle varies); Art in America and Elsewhere: an Illustrated Quarterly Magazine (vols. 21-27, no. 2, Dec. 1932-Apr. 1939; subtitle varies); Art in America: an Illustrated Quarterly Magazine (vol. 27, no. 3- , July 1939- ; subtitle varies and is dropped as of vol. 42, no. 1, Winter 1954).


Volume and Issue Data

Quarterly (vol. 1, 1913); bimonthly (vols. 2-20, Dec. 1913-Oct. 1932; double number, vol. 20, nos. 4/5, June/Aug. 1932); quarterly (vols. 21-50, Dec. 1932-1962); bimonthly (vols. 51-67, no. 4, 1963-July/Aug. 1979); eight issues per year (vol. 67, nos. 5-8, Sept.-Dec. 1979); ten issues (vols. 68-69, 1980-1981); eleven issues (vols. 70-72, 1982-1984); monthly (vol. 73- , 1985- ).


Publishers, Owners, and Places of Publication

¤ Frederic Fairchild Sherman (vols. 1-28, 1913-1940) in various locations: New York (vols. 1-16, 1913-1928); Portland, Maine; West Springfield, Mass.; Westport, Conn.; and Springfield, Mass.

¤ Julia Munson Sherman, Springfield, Mass. (copyright notice, vols. 29-38, 1941-1950).

¤ Jean Lipman, Springfield, Mass. (vols. 39-41, 1951-1953); then, Cannondale, Conn. (vols, 42-44, 1954-1956;).

¤ Lee A. Ault, Sr., New York, as Vision, Inc. (vols. 45-47, 1957-1959); then as Art in America Company, Inc. (vols. 48-57,no. 2, 1960-Mar./Apr. 1969).

¤ Whitney Communications Corporation, New York (vol. 57, no. 3-vol. 72, no. 4, May/June 1969-Apr. 1984). Presidents (of the magazine division): Wallace A. Sprague (vol. 57, no. 3-vol. 59, no. 4, May/June 1969-July/Aug. 1971); Donald R. Wall (vol. 59, no. 5-vol. 69, no. 3, Sept./Oct. 1971-Mar. 1980); John S. Prescott (vol. 68, no. 4-vol. 72, no. 4, Apr. 1980-Apr. 1984). Publishers (under Whitney): Charles R. Lawliss (vol. 61, no. 4-vol. 62, no. 1, July/Aug. 1973-Jan./Feb. 1974); Paul Shanley (vol. 62, no. 3-vol. 72, no. 4, May/June 1974-Apr. 1984).

¤ Brant Publications, New York (vol. 72, no. 5- ,May 1984- ). Publishers (under Brant): Paul Shanley (vol. 72, no. 5-vol. 73, no. 8, May 1984-Aug. 1985); Sandra J. Brant (vol. 73, no. 9- , Sept. 1985- ).



Wilhelm R. Valentiner (vols. 1-3, no. 3? 1913-Apr. 1915? see text); Frank Jewett Mather, Jr., acting editor (vol. 3, Dec. 1914-Oct. 1915; see text); Frederic Fairchild Sherman (vols. 4?-11, Dec. 1915?-1923; see text); Wilhelm R. Valentiner and Frederic Fairchild Sherman (vols. 12-17, Dec. 1923-Oct. 1929); Wilhelm R. Valentiner (vols. 18-19, Dec. 1929-Oct. 1931); Frederic Fairchild Sherman (vols. 22-28, Dec. 1933-1940); Jean Lipman, associate editor (vol. 26, no. 2-vol. 29, Apr. 1938-1940); Jean Lipman (vols. 29-59, no. 1, 1941-Jan./Feb. 1971); Brian O’Doherty (vol.  59, no. 2-vol. 62, no. 1, Mar./Apr. 1971-Jan./Feb. 1974); Elizabeth C. Baker (vol. 62, no. 2- , Mar./Apr. 1974- ).



Black-and-white halftone illustrations, with occasional photogravures, collotypes, and gatefold plates during the first couple of decades, and very infrequent color reproductions through 1956 (vol. 44); thereafter, color plates increase in frequency and quality to become the dominant type of illustration in the late 1980s and the 1990s. Original frontispiece etchings by Albert L. Groll (vol. 19, no. 3, Apr. 1931) and Robert H. Nisbet (vol. 19, no. 4, June 1931). Original lithograph by Larry Rivers, printed by the New York office of the Atelier Mourlot (vol. 56, no. 4, July/August 1968; see text). “Original” offset lithographs by six artists in each issue of vol. 58 (1970; see text).


Invaluable assistance has been provided by: Jean Lipman; the late Lee A. Ault, Sr.; Wallace A. Sprague; Brian O’Doherty; Paul Shanley; Elizabeth C. Baker; the late Paul Cummings; May Castleberry and Julie Mellby of the Whitney Museum of American Art Library; Clive Phillpot and Janis Ekdahl of the Museum of Modern Art Library; Clayton C. Kirking of the Phoenix Museum of Art Library; Darcy Tell of the Archives of American Art, Washington, DC; Jack Perry Brown of the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, Art Institute of Chicago; Paula Baxter of the New York Public Library; Susan Jurist and Ulla Sweedler of the Central University Library (now Geisel Library), University of California, San Diego, in La Jolla; Rosemary Furtak of the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Virginia G. Abblitt of the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, in La Jolla. My gratitude to each of them. The errors—and there surely are some—are all mine.


                                                                                                Laurence McGilvery

                                                                                                La Jolla, California


9968  words


[AUTHOR’S NOTE: Any and all corrections, changes in style, deletions, or revisions, must be confirmed with the author and approved before publication. Acknowledgments must be printed as written.]


[AUTHOR’S NOTE: This chronology probably does not fit the standard form for these essays, but it is a much easier way for the reader to absorb this rather complex history—-and somewhat more complete—than the “Publication History” that appears above.]



January 1913 through December 1940


1:1            Ja 1913            Art in America: an illustrated quarterly

                                                            Edited by Wilhelm R. Valentiner

                                                            Published by Frederic Fairchild Sherman, New York

                                                            Frequency Ja, Ap, Jy, O 1913

                                                            Cover price $1.00, subscription $4.00

2:1            D 1913            Art in America: an illustrated magazine. Published bimonthly. NOTE: The subtitle may vary within each issue and, to a lesser extent, from volume to volume; the covers and year indexes are consistent in using the entire title above; within the same issues, the editorial announcements, advertisements, title pages, and opening pages of text usually omit one or both secondary elements, and not in the same combinations.

                                                            Frequency change: D 1913, Fe 1914, Ap, Je, Ag, O

                                                            Cover price 75¢, subscription $4.00

2:6            O 1914            Cover price $1.00, subscription $5.00

3:4            Je 1915            Acting editor Frank Jewett Mather, Jr. (through 3:6, O 1915) NOTE: Valentiner continues to be listed on cover and index as editor but not within the body of the magazine; see text.

4:4            Je 1916            Managing editor Frederic Fairchild Sherman

5:6             O 1917            Cover price $1.00, subscription $6.00

10:1            D 1921            Art in America and elsewhere: an illustrated magazine published bimonthly

12:1            D 1923            Edited by Wilhelm R. Valentiner and Frederic Fairchild Sherman NOTE: editors named only on covers, not within magazine, except for annnual statement of ownership in June issues.

13:1            D 1929            Edited by Wilhelm R. Valentiner

19:1            D 1930            Addresses: Portland, Maine, and New York City

                                                            Cover price $1.25, subscription $7.50

19:3            Ap 1931            Original etching by Albert L. Groll as frontispiece

19:4            Je 1931            Original etching by Robert H. Nisbet as frontispiece

20:1            D 1931            Edited by Walter Heil and Frederic Fairchild Sherman           

                                                            West Springfield, Massachusetts, and New York City

20:4/5             Je/Ag 1932            Double number

20:6            O 1932            West Springfield, Massachusetts, and Westport, Connecticut

21:1            D 1932            Art in America and elsewhere [variant subtitles added for cover, text, and index]

                                                            Frequency change to quarterly: D1932, Mr 1933, Je, O

                                                            Cover price $1.50, subscription $6.00

22:1            D 1933            Edited by Frederic Fairchild Sherman

22:4            O 1934            First article by Jean Lipman

24:1            Ja 1936            Springfield, Massachusetts, and Westport, Connecticut

                                                            Issue dates change: Ja 1936, Ap, Jy, O

26:2            Ap 1938            Jean Lipman named Associate Editor

27:3            Je 1939            Editorial Advisory Board added (see text)

                                                24 O 1940            Frederic Fairchild Sherman dies in Westport, Connecticut after a long illness at age 66