The National Committee for the History of Art was founded in 1980, in anticipation of the 1986 International Congress of the History of Art, held in Washington. Irving Lavin was the founding NCHA President and was instrumental in shaping the organization as it prepared to conceive and host the International Congress. Under the leadership of Nancy Troy, NCHA organized and hosted a second conference, Past Perfected: Antiquity and its Reinventions, held in Los Angeles in 2006. It currently is concerned with developing global networks of art historians, particularly in areas of the world in which art history is an emerging discipline. With support from the Getty Foundation, NCHA brings together art historians from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe for discussions on the state of the discipline and to help forge communities of scholars around the globe.
For each International Congress, NCHA provides travel support to the Congress for students enrolled in US doctoral programs.