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Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award

The Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for museum scholarship was established in 1980, in honor of the founding director of the Museum of Modern Art and a scholar of early-twentieth-century painting. This award is presented to the author or authors of an especially distinguished catalogue in the history of art, published in the English language under the auspices of a museum, library, or collection. Catalogues of public or private collections or significant portions thereof and exhibition catalogues are eligible. The 2016 award year covers catalogues published between September 1, 2014, and August 31, 2015.

In 2009, CAA established a second Barr award for the author(s) of catalogues produced by smaller museums, libraries, and collections with an annual operating budget of less than $10 million dollars.

2015 Winners

Susan Weber: William Kent

Susan Weber

Expertly edited by Susan Weber, William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain is a magisterial and engaging scholarly endeavor that draws on the expertise of fifteen different authors. Although Kent, a versatile and prolific artist, designer, and architect, left no personal archive, nor a collection of personal correspondence, the authors of this catalogue mine scattered sources of wide-ranging media and subject with great diligence, providing profound insights into every facet of Kent’s production. No stone is left unturned: this fascinating study touches on everything from Kent’s biography, historiography, and the politics of patronage to the use, form, and iconography of his myriad designs. Yet the details do not distract. Far from it, each piece in this veritable encyclopedia takes its place as part of a narrative in which we savor, to cite one contributing author, “each small fragment that makes up the delightful whole.”

Jury: Thayer Tolles, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, chair; Kelly Baum, Princeton University Art Museum; Alison de Lima Greene, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; David Dearinger, Boston Athenaeum; and Peter Sturman, University of California, Santa Barbara.

Past Winners

CAA gave the first Barr award to Kurt Weitzmann, Margaret English Frazer, et al. in 1981 for Age of Spirituality: Late Antique and Early Christian Art, Third to Seventh Century, the catalogue for an exhibition held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1979. Many more award-winning catalogues produced at that museum followed.

Publications for exhibitions held at many other institutions nationwide have been recognized by CAA for their excellence, including The Blood of Kings: Dynasty and Ritual in Maya Art at the Kimbell Art Museum (1988), “Degenerate Art”: The Fate of the Avant-Garde in Nazi Germany at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1993), and Metropolitan Lives: The Ashcan Artists and Their New York at the National Museum of American Art (1997).

Read a list of all winners of the Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award from 1981 to the present, a list of recipents of the second Barr award, and a list of finalists for both awards from 1996 to the present.

Award Nominations

CAA has begun accepting nominations for the 2016 awards. Please review the guidelines to familiarize yourself with the nomination process and to download, complete, and submit the requested materials. Deadline: July 31, 2015, for the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award, the Alfred H. Barr Jr. Awards, and the Frank Jewett Mather Award; August 31, 2015, for all others.

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