ACA Galleries (American Contemporary Art) was founded in 1932 by Herman Baron, Stuart Davis (the pioneering modernist), Yasuo Kuniyoshi, (the well-known Japanese-American artist), and Adolf Dehn.
ACA first opened on Madison Avenue on August 16, 1932 in the depths of the Great Depression. At this time there were thirty galleries in New York City and Alfred Stieglitz’s 291 Gallery and Edith Halpert’s Downtown Gallery were the only other galleries dedicated to exhibiting American Art. From the start, ACA presented a distinctive vision, exhibiting artists whose work exposed the reality of American life and who did so using an American visual language.
Social Realism, or art with a message, found a home at ACA. Work by women, African-Americans, Jews, Asians, Latinos and Russian artists were shown on a regular basis. Artists as diverse as Louise Nevelson, Charles White, Lee Krasner, Isamu Noguchi, Raphael and Moses Soyer, Alice Neel, Barnet Newman, David Smith, Stuart Davis, Rockwell Kent, Yasuo Kuniyoshi and hundreds of others often had their first public exhibition at ACA.
In the mid-1930’s, when life for the artists became intolerable, ACA organized the earliest meetings of the American Artist’s Congress. These meetings were chaired by Stuart Davis and Rockwell Kent and were eventually moved to Carnegie Hall. This was the antecedent of what was to become the FAP (Federal Arts Project) and the WPA (Work Project Administration).
In the 1990s ACA opened a branch in Munich which presented the first public exhibitions in Europe of Jackson Pollock, Richard Pousette-Dart, Joseph Cornell, Adolph Gottlieb, Theodoros Stamos and John DeAndrea among others.
ACA Galleries continues its tradition of championing artists who are now recognized as the backbone of 20th century American art, exhibiting masterworks of the 20th century and giving voice to the artists of the 21st.