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Guide to the Salmagundi Club Photograph Collection
 PR 182

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Sandra Markham

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on April 28, 2022
Description is in English.

Historical Note

The Salmagundi Club was formed as the New York Sketch Club in 1871 by a group of artists and art patrons; it changed its name in tribute to the 19th century book of tales and miscellany published by Washington Irving. The club held its meetings and events in rented rooms at 14 West 12th Street from 1895 until 1917, when the club purchased its own brownstone at 47 Fifth Avenue.

Samuel T. Shaw (1861-1945) was the proprietor of the Grant Union Hotel, which was located on the southeast corner of 42nd Street and Park Avenue, across from Grand Central Terminal, from 1874 until 1914. An art collector and patron of living artists, Shaw hung the hotel walls with his personal collection of works by American painters. He was closely associated with the Salmagundi Club, the Society of American Artists, and the National Academy of Design, and awarded cash prizes for the best picture at the annual exhibitions held by those institutions.

Shaw gave the "Shaw Prize" at the Salmagundi Club exhibits for fifty years, and would sponsor an annual dinner party of the artists in competition for that year's award. A commercial photographer was engaged to make a panoramic group portrait of the jovial and formally dressed painters at their dinner table. At the center of each photograph appear two easily identifiable men: the award-winning artist from the previous year (bedecked with a laurel head wreath), and their great patron, the bearded, white-haired (and usually unjacketed) Samuel T. Shaw, often sitting beneath the Club's portrait of Shaw by Wayman Adams.