The Tile Club was one of many societies that formed across the United States during the late nineteenth century. Including such well-known artists as Winslow Homer, William Merritt Chase, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Edwin Austin Abbey, J. Alden Weir, and John H. Twachtman, the club was founded in 1877 riding a wave of interest in the decorative arts. Members met once a week and would each contribute to the “decorative age” by painting an eight-by-eight-inch ceramic tile. These meetings became a time to socialize, dine, and enjoy the music performed by guests and honorary members.
Tiles formed only a small part of the Club’s output. Members made excursions to Long Island and up the Hudson River to sketch and paint. These trips were lively journeys, and the works completed during them document the first plein-air painting organization in the young nation. Tiles, paintings, sculptures, and sketches—many by distinguished artists working early in their careers—are showcased in this exhibition.
IMAGE: Francis Davis Millet (American, 1846–1912), Study for Proclaiming the King, 1901, oil on canvas, 20 x 27 in., Chazen Museum of Art, gift of D. Frederick Baker from the Baker/Pisano Collection, 2017.27.54