A Short History

Cultivating Creativity in the Visual Arts since 1890

Our Past

The Cincinnati Art Club enjoys a long and prestigious history – the second oldest, continuously operating Art Club in the nation. Founded by thirteen artists meeting as a sketch group in John Rettig’s studio, the Club’s stated purpose was: To promote the knowledge and appreciation of art. Throughout its history, the has Club boasted a notable roster of nationally recognized artists.

Since its inception, the Club has undergone multiple transformations. It purchased its first clubhouse in the 1920s, added social activities, survived the Great Depression and war years, and actively recruited young artists to carry the Club forward in the mid-30s. We built our current clubhouse in 1957 and, in 1968, launched ViewPoint, now one of the longest-running national art competitions in America. We admitted women to membership in the late 70s, and women are now half our membership and our Board of Trustees.


As the largest organization of women and men who seek improvement in their artistic skills, the Club continues its evolution. The Club embraces all visual art forms, ranging from representational to abstract, painting to photography, 3-dimensional to digital. Our Constitution assures all artists and art enthusiasts’ equality and acceptance as a fully diversified organization. Visiting artists with national reputations conduct workshops at the Club. We also provide an art library, sketch sessions with figure and portrait models, demonstrations, lectures, art critiques, and social gatherings to advance our mission. We maintain a strong commitment to community service with scholarships and student art mentoring.

Today, many of our members win national awards and recognition from organizations such as Oil Painters of America, American Impressionist Society, American Watercolor Society, Pastel Society of America and the Salmagundi Club of New York – the only art club in the country, older than the Cincinnati Art Club. Many members have their work in or have shown at local, regional and national museums and exhibitions.

Go to a List of Cincinnati Art Club Presidents

…Through CAC Logos

America at the turn of the 20th Century was looking for its place on the world stage. Like others, Henry Farny had been to Europe to study and was one of the artists who would establish the Cincinnati Art Club and American Art as an acknowledged world leader. His inaugral logo design expresses the developmental journey of an artist, their trials and triumphs.

A mid-century update to the Club’s original logo was developed post-WW II. New energy suffused the Club and the nation as the GIs came home and the art world looked to the United States for new directions. Women were welcomed into membership and the ViewPoint Exhibition brought us back onto the national stage.

The Club had made known their desire for a brand refresh to attract a more diverse membership, something that would reflect our aspirations for the future and also acknowledge the Club’s history. The “C”  provides a vessel to showcase the myriad inspired works and activities of the Club, to encourage every artist and art lover in our community and beyond to experience all that the Cincinnati Art Club has to offer.