New York’s National Academy goes on hiatus
Get 1 year from 27.50 €

Digital and paper subscriptions available worldwide

Subscribe now

New York’s National Academy goes on hiatus

New York's National Academy goes on hiatus after the successful "Creative Mischief" exhibition showcasing Italian artists.

Thu 22 Jun 2017 2:35 PM

Nestled between the world-renowned Guggenheim Museum at its south end and its northern neighbor, the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, stands the staunch townhouse known to art aficionados as the National Academy Museum. These three neighboring museums grace and contribute to Museum Mile on fashionable Fifth Avenue in New York City overlooking Central Park.


The park, which was the idea and creation of the Hudson River School artists, America’s first formal artistic movement, included some of the founding members of the Academy, such as Brit Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand and Rembrandt Peale. The current location of the National Academy was once the home of famed art patron Archer Milton Huntington and artist/sculptor Anna Hyatt. The Academy came to reside in the Upper East Side as a result of a fire, a tragedy leading to a triumphant relocation. The school of fine arts adjoins the museum and has hosted some of the greatest artists and teachers in the art world throughout its history since its inception. Once examined, the “understatedness” of The National Academy, possibly due to its neighbors, is a true American, New York and international treasure.



Photo Montage by Janice Lee Edelman



The National Academy is the oldest art school in New York and was founded in 1825 by the leading Hudson School River painters, along with its primary founding member, Samuel Finely B. Morse. Morse is known to most people as the inventor of the famous distress code, but few realize that his primary vocation was that of an artist. After attending The Royal Academy of Arts in London, Morse embarked on gathering his fellow artists to establish the Academy upon his return to the U.S. Through his travels and connections Morse brought the first daguerreotype to America. His foresight and influential direction propelled interest in New York over Baltimore. Morse saw that the island of Manhattan would make New York a greater port for business than any of the other cities in the running. This American man of art, science and invention was compared to an uber-famous Italian in Carleton Mabee’s book The American Leonardo, A Life of Samuel F. B. Morse.  


The National Academy’s ties with Europe and Italy were evident from the beginning. The first building designed by architect Peter B. Wight was in Venetian Gothic style and was modeled on the Doge’s Palace in Venice, Italy. Yes, the ingredients for The National Academy, via the comparative intellectual interests of its founding member and the first building are derivative of Italian cuisine. What is equally curious is that the current director, artist and curator of the exhibition “Creative Mischief” Maurizio Pellegrin is Venetian, born and raised in Italy’s unique Lagoon City.


The 2017 exhibition “Creative Mischief” is the brainchild of Maurizio Pellegrin. This year the show was juried due to the volume of entries. Diversity is the buzzword, featuring 135 multicultural artists showcasing abstract, traditional and figurative work, sculptures, installations, prints, photographs, cyanotypes as well as video and animation. Maurizio Pellegrin’s piece, entitled “A Dream in a Venetian Cradle” (2016), might be unknowingly reflective of himself and perhaps The National Academy.


“The mission and culture of our 190-year-old school is solid and pragmatic, but as all the things that contain enchantment it is governed by dreams and desires. Our dream and desire is to serve the people and help them to serve the arts,” commented Pellegrin. 



Central Park Clockwork Mode of Apps by Annamarie Trombetta



Among the artists on show in “Creative Mischief” were American-Italian Anthony Panzera, N.A., inspired by his time in Florence in the 1970s and the “Art in Florence and Rome” program at Hunter College; Dan Gheno, an artist of Venetian and Florentine heritage; Annamarie Trombetta, who draws creativity from the Tuscan Macchiaioli painters among others; and Florentine Jacopo degli Innocenti.


This is the last exhibition to be displayed at the Fifth Avenue townhouse. The community at The Academy holds out hope while it revisits its historic past and enters a familiar season by taking yet another transcendental hiatus. It is hoped that the Academy, akin to a community of ever-producing honey bees” will soon swarm to a new location in New York.



National Academy Museum


New York, New York 10128

+1 212-369-4880

Related articles


Friends of Florence funds restoration of Andrea della Robbia lunettes

Two artworks brought back to life at the Accademia di Belle Arti.


Restoration Conversations: Opificio delle Pietre Dure

On June 13, tune into a live broadcast with paper restorer Simona Calza at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure.


Beauty within suffering

An exhibition review of the Lisetta Carmi Suonare Forte exhibition at Villa Bardini