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Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art

The Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art, established in 2003, celebrates the career of an author of note and includes art criticism, art history, art biography, and/or art theory. The award is presented to an author who, among other distinctions, has demonstrated particular commitment to their work throughout a long career and has had an impact, nationally and internationally, on the field.

2020 WINNER

Joseph Leo Koerner  

Joseph Leo Koerner writes with a rare combination of erudition and imagination, charting new pathways to understanding northern European visual culture in its historical, philosophical, and intellectual contexts. His achievements include three landmark books on sixteenth-century paintings: The Moment of Self-Portraiture in German Renaissance Art (1993), The Reformation of the Image (2003), and Bosch and Bruegel: From Enemy Painting to Everyday Life (2016). Widely acclaimed for their trenchant analyses rooted in careful observation of the works themselves, each of these volumes takes up the study of the familiar masters of the Northern Renaissance— Albrecht Dürer, Hans Baldung Grien, Lucas Cranach, Hieronymous Bosch, and Pieter Bruegel —and uncovers fresh avenues of insight not only into each figure but also into the complex and shifting worlds they inhabited. Koerner has also written widely on more recent artists, from Caspar David Friedrich to Paul Klee, and explored early twentieth-century Vienna through a documentary project and a semiautobiographical film.  

Koerner challenges art historians to approach humanism and the humanities through a rigorous method and an expansive lens. He further invites scholars from all disciplines to turn to the history of art for insight into eras of cultural change, making early modernity exciting for students and specialists alike. A recent reviewer noted that “Koerner displays a perspicacity like no other art historian I know when dealing with works of art that demand a hermeneutics of openness,” and to this assessment we would add that no other navigates the enigmas of the visual image with such understanding, wit, and verve.  

Jury: Shirin Fozi, University of Pittsburgh, chair; Molly Nesbit, Vassar College; and Joseph Masheck, Hofstra University. 

PAST WINNERS

Although the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art was established fairly recently, the award juries have honored the writing careers of notable luminaries in the field, including Hans Belting, Oleg Grabar, Georges Didi-Huberman, and John Berger. 

2019 Molly Nesbit 
Jury: Jelena Bogdanović, Iowa State University, chair; Jongwoo Jeremy Kim, University of Louisville; Anna Novakov, St. Mary’s College of California 

2018 Joseph Masheck
Jury: Jelena Bogdanović, Iowa State University, chair; Anna Novakov, St. Mary’s College of California; and Jongwoo Jeremy Kim, University of Louisville.

2017 This award was not given in 2017.
Jury: Ellen T. Birrell, California Institute of the Arts and X-TRA, chair; Jelena Bogdanović, Iowa State University; and Jongwoo Jeremy Kim, University of Louisville.

2016 Rosalind E. Krauss
Jury: Michael Brenson, Independent Scholar, chair; Ellen T. Birrell, California Institute of the Arts and X-TRA; and Rebecca Zorach, University of Chicago

2015 Lucy R. Lippard
Jury: Michael Brenson, independent scholar, chair; Ellen T. Birrell, California Institute of the Arts; and Rebecca Zorach, University of Chicago.

2014 John Berger
Jury: Thomas Lawson, California Institute of the Arts, chair; Michael Brenson, independent scholar; and Rebecca Zorach, University of Chicago

2013 T. J. Clark
Jury: Catherine Soussloff, University of British Columbia, chair; Lane Relyea, Northwestern University; and Thomas Lawson, California Institute of the Arts

2012 Allan Sekula
Jury: Catherine Soussloff, University of British Columbia, chair; Lane Relyea, Northwestern University; and Thomas Lawson, California Institute of the Arts

2011 Mieke Bal
Jury: Keith Moxey, Barnard College, Columbia University, chair; Lane Relyea, Northwestern University; and Catherine Soussloff, University of British Columbia

2010 Holland Cotter
Jury: Janet Kaplan, Moore College of Art and Design, chair; S. Hollis Clayson, Northwestern University; and Keith Moxey, Barnard College, Columbia University

2009 Georges Didi-Huberman
Jury: Janet Kaplan, Moore College of Art and Design, chair; S. Hollis Clayson, Northwestern University; and Keith Moxey, Barnard College, Columbia University

2008 Robert L. Herbert
Jury: John Beldon Scott, University of Iowa, chair; S. Hollis Clayson, Northwestern University; and Janet Kaplan, Moore College of Art and Design

2007 James Cahill
Jury: John Beldon Scott, University of Iowa, chair; Larry Silver, University of Pennsylvania; and Suzanne Preston Blier, Harvard University

2006 Linda Nochlin
Jury: Katherine Manthorne, Graduate Center, City University of New York, chair; Suzanne Preston Blier, Harvard University Art Museums; John Beldon Scott, University of Iowa; and Larry Silver, University of Pennsylvania

2005 Oleg Grabar
Committee: Katherine Manthorne, Graduate Center, City University of New York, chair; Terrie F. Sultan, Blaffer Gallery, Art Museum of the University of Houston; Larry Silver, University of Pennsylvania; John Beldon Scott, University of Iowa; and Suzanne Preston Blier, Harvard University

2004 Hans Belting
Committee: Jonathan Fineberg, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, chair; Katherine Manthorne, Graduate Center, City University of New York; Katy Siegel, Hunter College, City University of New York; and Terrie Sultan, University of Houston

2003 Robert Farris Thompson
Committee: Jonathan Fineberg, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, chair; Janet Kaplan, Moore College of Art and Design; Katy Siegel, Hunter College, City University of New York; Kenneth E. Silver, New York University; and Terrie Sultan, University of Houston