The National Museum of American Illustration (NMAI) was founded in 1998 by Judy Goffman Cutler and Laurence S. Cutler to house their art collection from the "Golden Age of American Illustration," (1895-1945). The NMAI opened its doors to the public on July 4, 2000. The National Museum of American Illustration is proud to have had the support of The National Arts Club (NAC) as its founding institution.

The Museum Founders

Museum Director/Curator of American Illustration
Judy Goffman Cutler, Co-Founder/Museum Director of the National Museum of American Illustration, is Founder and Executive Director of the American Illustrators Gallery, NYC, the premier gallery showcasing major original artworks from the "Golden Age of American Illustration." The NMAI's American Imagist Collection includes: Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish, Elizabeth Shippen Green, NC Wyeth, Howard Pyle, Jessie Willcox Smith, Howard Chandler Christy, JC Leyendecker, Violet Oakley, James Montgomery Flagg, Charles Dana Gibson and over 150 others. Judy is Co-Founder and Advisory Director to ARTShows and Products, Corp. (ASaP) and is Co-Founder of The Alliance for Art and Architecture LLC.

Following graduation from the University of Pennsylvania with dual degrees in Fine Arts and American Civilization and a Masters of Science in Education, Judy began her career as an art dealer/collector by recognizing early on the value of American illustration as an important part of our national heritage and a significant part of the fine arts spectrum. Judy was an early collector of original poster art, magazine covers, studies and memorabilia, then later branched out to art prints, advertising art and limited edition prints from the "Golden Age." Having succeeded in building a collection of prints, she then sought the original paintings, and she found them.

Judy Cutler has authored and co-authored over sixty exhibition catalogues and art books published by Bison Books/Crescent Books, Brompton Books, Gramercy Books, Harry N. Abrams, Pomegranate Artbooks, Random House, Regency House International, Thunder Bay Press, Wellfleet Press, and others.

Laurence S Cutler, Co-Founder/CEO of the National Museum of American Illustration, is Founder of The Alliance for Art and Architecture LLC, and Advisory Director to the American Illustrators Gallery, NYC, the nation’s leading illustration art gallery.

Following graduation from the University of Pennsylvania, Laurence Cutler received dual graduate degrees from Harvard University in  architecture and urban design. In 1966, he founded ECODESIGN International Inc., an interdisciplinary ecology-based consultancy of architects, engineers, planners and environmental planners, and subsequently formed subsidiary companies in Europe, Africa, South America and the Middle East. In 1972, Laurence's firm ECODESIGN was acquired by Combustion Engineering Inc., now ABB (Sweden) on the NYSE. As President, he built his division into a professional services group with 1,750 employees in 37 offices in 7 countries. Laurence later reacquired ECODESIGN to regain its independent status in order to undertake private real estate ventures. In 1980, he established The Cutler-Stephens Foundation, a nonprofit organization providing funding for childhood cancer, leukemia and AIDS research.

An architect/urban designer,  author, advertising executive, real estate developer, and a former Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at Harvard University, MIT, and the Rhode Island School of Design, Laurence has authored many books on art, architecture, urban design and poetry published by Bison Books/Crescent Books, Brompton Books, Cahners Books International, Grammercy Books, Harry N. Abrams Publishing, the MIT Press, McGraw-Hill, Pomegranate Artbooks, Random House, Regency House International, Thunder Bay Press, Van Nostrand Reinhold, and Wellfleet Press.

The National Arts Club

The National Arts Club (NAC) was founded in 1898 (the same year Vernon Court was built) by Charles de Kay, a literary critic for the New York Times to stimulate public interest in the arts and to foster a creative association between artists and art lovers. Among the one thousand charter members were some of the foremost collectors, sculptors, painters, musicians, patrons, and architects at the turn of the century, including J. Pierpont Morgan, Henry Clay Frick, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Daniel Chester French, Stanford White, Victor Herbert, Ceclia Beaux, and Frederic Remington.

Many founding charter members of the NAC had Newport connections: Thomas Hastings & John Carrère, architects of Vernon Court; Honorable William Watts Sherman and Honorable George Wetmore, owners of property adjacent to Vernon Court; John La Farge, painter and muralist; Cornelius Vanderbilt, owner of The Breakers; and George Ruggles, developer of Gramercy Park in NYC (the eponymous Ruggles Avenue bounds the NMAI's Frederick Law Olmsted Park and Arboretum).

Women were offered full membership to the NAC from the beginning, reflecting the Club's progressive outlook. Located in the former residence of Samuel J. Tilden on Gramercy Park, the National Arts Club continues to maintain working studios and residences for writers and artists. It also bestows numerous awards, grants, and scholarships, and hosts a variety of exhibits and events that cover a wide spectrum of the arts. On July 29, 2010, on the occasion of its 10th Anniversary of being open to the public, the NMAI hosted a Gala Event to honor the National Arts Club, along with actress/entertainer Whoopi Goldberg and author Tom Wolfe, with its American Civilization Awards for their contributions to Popular American Culture.