Patricia and Phillip Frost Essay Award

The Patricia and Phillip Frost Essay Award is presented annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American Art, the scholarly journal of the Smithsonian American Art Museum

The award carries a $1,000 cash prize.

The Frost Award is intended to recognize excellence in scholarship in the field of American art history. It is especially meant to honor an essay that advances our understanding of the history of the arts in America, demonstrates original research, and expresses fresh ideas. The essay must be clearly written, accessible in its language, and marked by a gracefulness of exposition.

Funding for this award is made possible by the generous contribution of the Patricia and Phillip Frost Endowment. The prize was instituted in 2004 by the American Art Editorial Board.

Eligibility Criteria

All contributions, including articles, interviews, and commentaries, appearing in American Art in the past calendar year/volume are eligible. No work written by an employee of the museum or the journal’s Editorial Board will be considered.

Award Process

Each year, a rotating jury of three members of the American Art Editorial Board reviews articles appearing in the relevant volume and selects the winner.

For information on how to subscribe or submit an article to American Art, which is published for the museum by the University of Chicago Press, please visit


Frost Essay Award Recipients

2017: Peter Betjemann, “The Ends of Time: Abolition, Apocalypse, and Narrativity in Robert S. Duncanson’s Literary Paintings,” Fall 2017 (vol. 31, no. 3): 80-109.

2016: Ross Barrett, “Bursting the Bubble: John Quidor’s Money Diggers and Land Speculation,” Spring 2016 (vol. 30, no. 1): 29-51.

2015: Lauren Kroiz, “‘A Jolly Lark for Amateurs’: John Steuart Curry’s Pedagogy of Painting,” Spring 2015 (vol. 29, no. 1): 28-53.

2014: Tanya Sheehan, “Confronting Taboo: Photography and the Art of Jacob Lawrence,” Fall 2014 (vol. 28, no. 3): 28-51.

2013: Max Fraser, “Hands Off the Machine: Workers’ Hands and Revolutionary Symbolism in the Visual Culture of 1930s America,” Summer 2013 (vol. 27, no. 2): 94-117.

2012: Ethan W. Lasser, “Selling Silver: The Business of Copley’s Paul Revere,” Fall 2012 (vol. 26, no. 3): 26-43.

2011: JoAnne Mancini, “Pedro Cambón’s Asian Objects: A Transpacific Approach to 18th-Century California,” Spring 2011 (vol. 25, no. 1): 28-51.

2010: Patricia Junker, “Childe Hassam, Marsden Hartley, and the Spirit of 1916,” Fall 2010 (vol. 24, no. 3): 26-51.

2009: John Ott, “Reform in Redface: The Taos Society of Artists Plays Indian,” Summer 2009 (vol. 23, no. 2): 80-107.

2008: ShiPu Wang, “Japan against Japan: U.S. Propaganda and Yasuo Kuniyoshi’s Identity Crisis,” Spring 2008 (vol. 22, no. 1): 28-51.

2007: Ellen G. Landau, “Double Consciousness in Mexico: How Philip Guston and Reuben Kadish Painted a Morelian Mural,” Spring 2007 (vol. 21, no. 1): 75-97.

2006: Michael Clapper, “Thomas Kinkade’s Romantic Landscape,” Summer 2006 (vol. 20, no. 2): 76-99.

2005: Sue Taylor, “Grant Wood’s Family Album,” Summer 2005 (vol. 19, no. 2): 48-67.

2004: Sally Stein, “The President’s Two Bodies: Stagings and Restagings of FDR and the New Deal Body Politic,” Spring 2004 (vol. 18, no. 1): 32-57.