Terra Foundation for American Art International Essay Prize

The Terra Foundation for American Art International Essay Prize recognizes excellent scholarship by a non-U.S. citizen working in the field of historical American art. Manuscripts should advance the understanding of American art by demonstrating new findings and original perspectives. The prize winner will be given the opportunity to work toward publication in American Art, the peer-reviewed journal copublished by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the University of Chicago Press. The winner will receive a $1,000 cash award and a travel stipend of up to $3,500 to give a presentation in Washington, DC, and meet with museum staff and the pre- and postdoctoral research fellows. This prize is supported by funding from the Terra Foundation for American Art.

The aims of the award are to stimulate and actively support international scholars working on American art topics, foster the international exchange of new ideas, and create a broad, culturally comparative dialogue on American art. Essays may focus on any aspect of historical (pre-1980) American art and visual culture; however, architecture and film studies are not eligible. Preference will be given to submissions that address American art within a cross-cultural context and offer new ways of thinking about the material. A strong emphasis on visual analysis is encouraged.

To be eligible to participate in the competition, authors must be non-U.S. citizens who have achieved doctoral candidacy or completed a doctoral degree (or the equivalent). Additionally, applicants must neither have published nor been accepted for publication in the journal American Art. Manuscripts previously published in a foreign language are eligible if released within the last two years (please provide the date and venue of the prior publication). Essays that have been published in English will not be considered. Former applicants must submit new material if they wish to be considered again.

Interested authors are encouraged to submit a full application packet containing the essay/manuscript, abstract, illustrations with captions, and a curriculum vitae. The manuscript should contain between 7,000 and 8,500 words (including endnotes) and approximately 12 to 14 illustrations. Complete citations should be provided in the endnotes according to the Chicago Manual of Style 17th edition. A separate bibliography is helpful although it is not required, nor will it be factored into the expected word count. An abstract of 500 to 1,000 words should be attached in a separate Word file that 1) clearly states the essay’s thesis and contribution to the field of American art, and 2) outlines the essay’s basic structure and methodology. Essays may be submitted in any language; abstracts must be submitted in English. Provide all illustrations in a separate PDF file, and caption each figure with the object’s title, artist, date, medium, dimensions, and current location.

Questions or comments may be emailed to TerraEssayPrize@si.edu.

View translated information [PDF] on the prize in Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. For more information on our journal, please visit the American Art journal webpage. For details on the Terra Foundation for American Art, please visit terraamericanart.org.


Terra International Essay Prize Recipients

2019: Paisid Aramphongphan, “An Artist in the Secular World: Paul Thek’s Relics,” (forthcoming). View press release

2017: Susanneh Bieber, “Going Back to Kansas City: The Origins of Judd’s Minimal Art,” Spring 2019 (vol. 33, no. 1). View press release | Read abstract

2015: Hadrien Viraben, “Constructing a Reputation: Achille Segard's 1913 Biography of Mary Cassatt,” Spring 2017 (vol. 31, no. 1). Read abstract

2014: John Fagg, “Chamber Pots and Gibson Girls: Clutter and Matter in John Sloan's Graphic Art,” Fall 2015 (vol. 29, no. 3): 28-57. Read abstract

2013: Edyta Frelik, “Ad Reinhardt: Painter-as-Writer,” Fall 2014 (vol. 28, no. 3): 104-25. Read abstract

2012: Sophie Cras, “Art as an Investment and Artistic Shareholding Experiments in the 1960s,” Spring 2013 (vol. 27, no. 1): 2-23. Read first page of article

2011: Alex J. Taylor, “Unstable Motives: Propaganda, Politics and the Late Work of Alexander Calder,” Spring 2012 (vol. 26, no. 1): 24–47. Read first page of article

2010: Sergio Cortesini, “Invisible Canvases: Italian Painters and Fascist Myths across the American Scene,” Spring 2011 (vol. 25, no. 1): 52–73. Read first page of article