Women's International Art Club Archive

Scope and Content

Records of the Women's International Art Club (WIAC), 1942-[1976], comprising catalogues of WIAC annual and other exhibitions, 1942-1968; rules of the constitution and exhibitions of the club, 1952-1971; exhibition publicity material, 1960-1964, view cards and invitations, 1963-1965; summaries of meetings, 1953, 1957-1958; minutes of meetings, 1959-1962, 1970-1971; audited accounts, 1955-1971; correspondence, 1952-1971, largely to Gwen Barnard, relating to her election to WIAC, 1952; printing of catalogues and financial and administrative matters [1959]-1971; relating to WIAC exhibitions, 1959-1964; letter from Brenda Chamberlain concerning plagiarism in art, [1958-1959]; press cuttings, 1961; photograph of WIAC members, 1962; newsletter, 1971; histories of the WIAC, [1962]-[1976].

Administrative / Biographical History

The Women's International Art Club was founded in Paris in 1900, as the Paris International Art Club. At this time there was very little opportunity for women to exhibit their art work, and as an exhibiting society the Club was instrumental in bringing the work of women sculptors and painters to the notice of the general public. The first exhibition under its new name was held at the Grafton Galleries in London in 1900. The Club had an annual exhibition of paintings and sculptures in London until it closed in 1976, and smaller exhibitions were also shown outside London and abroad. The foreign sections of the Club also contributed work to the exhibition, including the Italian, Scottish, Dutch, American, French and Greek sections. Members' works were submitted for selection by a selection committee, comprising officials of the club and two outsiders chosen from the artistic community, usually art critics, gallery owners etc. In the 1950s and 1960s the club continued to flourish, encouraging young experimental artists and organising exhibitions from abroad. In the 1970s the waning of interest in large exhibitions and rising costs of gallery space led to the closure of the club in 1976. Exhibitors included Gwen Barnard, Eileen Agar, Elizabeth Frink, Lee Krasner and Gwen John.


Filed chronologically

Access Information

Access by written application to the Site Librarian, Manresa Road, London, SW3 6LS. Researchers from the London Institute may visit by appointment.

Acquisition Information

Other Finding Aids

A list is available at Chelsea College of Art & Design Manresa Road Library. As at 2002 MARC records on Talis for published items - available on the library catalogue www.linst.ac.uk/library.

Archivist's Note

Description by Catherine Burke, Genesis Project Officer 2002. Collection Description transferred to the Archives Hub in 2008 as part of Genesis 2008 Project.

Conditions Governing Use

Within Copyright Licensing Agency guidelines, although copying of fragile material is a the discretion of the librarian.

Custodial History

Most of the material comes from the papers of the painter Gwen Barnard, who joined the Club in 1952. Because of Gwen Barnard's position as a committee member, Vice-Chairman, 1958-1960 and Chairman, 1960-1964 the collection includes many draft, informal papers and ephemeral material. There is much evidence of prevailing attitudes towards women's art and a glimpse of changing attitudes among women artists by the 1970s.


Items are occasionally added when acquired.

Related Material

Material also held at The Women's Art Library, including official papers of the organisation, press cuttings, books, newsletters, catalogues and other papers. The National Art Library has catalogues from 1899-1938