The Society of Artists, Sydney, organised annual exhibitions at which members could sell their works. The exhibitions reflected the periods in which the artists worked. Art photographer John Kauffmann found in 1897 that he was not permitted to display his photographs. In 1930 no work was accepted for exhibition with a price tag of more than twenty-five pounds.

Some of the outstanding exhibitions held by the Society included an exhibition of Arthur Streeton's work in 1920. The Society's regular venue was the Education Department's Art Gallery in Loftus St, Sydney. A 1902 exhibition catalogue indicates that the Society of Artists' rooms were located at 76 Pitt St, Sydney.

Ure Smith was President of the Society from 1921 to 1948. He encouraged new members and advocated measured progress in Australian art. He and G.W. Lambert helped to keep the Society liberal and supported the award of the Society's travelling scholarship to the young artist Wakelin-de Maistre in 1923 (awarded to G.W. Lambert in 1900), and in the same year arranged the Society's controversial Exhibition of Australian Art in London - controversial because a group of Victorian artists wanted to remove Norman Lindsay's works on moral groups and applied for a court injunction to prevent the exhibition leaving Australia without further selections.

The Society's publications included annual exhibition catalogues and books such as A. Lambert's Thirty Years of an Artist's Life. The Career of G.W. Lambert. 1938.

The Society also awarded medals to encourage 'good service for the advancement of Australian art'. It awarded a medal to H.W. Kent in 1943 (NU 20760) and to artist and critic George Henry Frederick Bell in 1947.

Australian Dictionary of Biography.
Art Galleries Schubert website
Photohistory SA website

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