James Sutton was one of the founding members, with Thomas Kirby and R. Austin Robertson, of the American Art Association in New York. The firm, which was to become the premiere American auction house of its time, held its first auction in 1885, the liquidation of George I. Seney's collection. In 1927 the firm acquired its competition, the Anderson Galleries. Two of the American Art Association's staff, Hiram Parke and Otto Bernet, left in 1937 to form their own auction house, which eventually merged with Sotheby & Co. of London. Sutton, son-in-law of department store owner Rowland H. Macy, withdrew from the American Art Association in 1895.
"James H. Sutton Dead." The New York Times. 25 November 1915:13:5
Norton, Thomas E. [Foreword by Douglas Dillon]. 100 Years of Collecting in America; The Story of Sotheby Parke Bernet. New York, 1984: 12-13, 17.