About Us


Since 1895

Formed over a century ago to enable students, illustrators and fine artists to spend more timeworking from live models,a few artists’ dreams became the Palette & Chisel Club.  Their founding principles remain our guiding mission.

Today’s Palette & Chisel is a non-profit organization. Since 1921, we have been housed in a circa 1870’s mansion in the heart of Chicago’s famed Gold Coast.  We continue the “working from life” tradition in our historic location.

The Palette & Chisel offers almost 70 hours per week of open studios featuring live models.  These non-instructed sessions enable artists to further their painting, drawing or sculpting skills in the same manner as our founders.  History lives at the Palette & Chisel.

The last two decades have seen the development of an artists’ academy at the Palette & Chisel.  Now we offer classes and workshops in every aspect of realistic art including still life, figure, portrait and landscape painting in a variety of media.  Our coach house features a sculpture studio, while the third floor ballroom of the main building houses a beautiful north light painting studio.

The Palette & Chisel members remain our strength.  Many who start with us as students become members.  We are now over 300 members strong across the country with approximately 180 Artist Members taking a role in the organization.  The Palette & Chisel still is as much a club as it is an academy.

Many famous and many more not-so-famous artists have been associated with the P&C’s wonderful history.  From Fred Larson, who put up his own home as collateral to purchase our building, to Charles Russell, William Merritt Chase, Alphonse Mucha, Walter Ufer, Richard Schmid and others, the list of notables goes on and on…

The desire for sound fundamental training based on working from live models, brought artists together over 100 years ago.  It continues to bring them together.

The Palette & Chisel Academy of Fine Arts remains the iconic institution for representational art in Chicago today.