American Art-Union

Incorporated in 1840, this organization sought to raise appreciation of national art by enrolling subscribers, who received benefits: free admission to the gallery of the Art-Union, engraved reproductions of important paintings in the collection, and the opportunity to win original works through a lottery. One of its most attractive offerings was Cole's The Voyage of Life (1839-40). Members also received James Smillie's engraved reproduction of Youth. Although the organization enjoyed great popular appeal, it was disbanded in 1852 due to financial and legal challenges.