Pelham Art Center calls for entries for 12th biennial Alexander Rutsch Award


11th Biennial winner Matthew Cole’s “Bedford Stuyvesant” (2019), acrylic on canvas.

Editor’s note: This press release was provided by the Pelham Art Center. The Pelham Examiner publishes press releases in the form received as a service to the community.

Pelham Art Center is pleased to announce a call for entries for the 12th biennial Alexander Rutsch Award and Exhibition for Painting. This juried competition is open to U.S.-based artists aged 19 and older. The winner is awarded a $5,000 cash prize, a solo exhibition and printed catalog at Pelham Art Center. Pelham Art Center is proud to sponsor this competition and award honoring the memory and artistic achievement of artist Alexander Rutsch (1916 – 1997). Rutsch actively supported Pelham Art Center for more than 25 years. After his death, friends, family and supporters established a generous fund to support a biennial, open, juried competition in painting.  The 11th Rutsch Award recipient was Matthew Cole, whose paintings use composite imagery to represent the fragmented nature of memory, narrated through personal as well as familiar references from art history.

The judging panel for the 12th Biennial Rutsch Award includes a representative member of the Rutsch family, a Pelham Art Center Gallery Advisory Committee member, and two guest jurors. Guest jurors for the 12th Biennial Rutsch Award include Patricia Miranda and Jason Stopa. Patricia Miranda is an artist, curator, and educator. She is founder of The Crit Lab graduate-level critical seminars for artists, and MAPSpace project space and residency program. Jason Stopa is a painter and writer who currently teaches at The School of Visual Arts and Pratt Institute.

Those interested in submitting work for the 12th Alexander Rutsch Award and Exhibition can find the prospectus and entry form at For questions, contact Deadline for entries: December 1, 2022.

Previous winners of the Alexander Rutsch Award represent a diverse range of styles and subject matter–from abstract to hyperrealism, the playful and the politically poignant–within the rich tradition of painting. The eleven previous winners continue their successful careers in painting, and speak to the breadth and prestige of the Rutsch Award.

2021: Matthew Cole
2019: Sarah McKenzie
2017: Sammy Chong
2015: Lindy Chambers
2013: Siobhan McBride
2011: Nina Rizzo
2009: Tracy Miller
2007: Liang Guo
2005: Dorothy Robinson
2003: Mitchell Marco
2001: Frank Trankina

About Alexander Rutsch

Alexander Rutsch was born in Vienna, Austria. After studying voice in Austria, he became an opera singer like his parents, but after WWII, Rutsch’s love for visual expression propelled him to change careers. He was a painter, sculptor, philosopher, musician, singer, and poet. His life as a romantic is reflected in his work, as he sought to perfect his soul and humanity. “I paint my dreams,” said Rutsch. “My dreams are color and life. They soar in my head like millions of symphonies. I can never stop building dreams.”

In 1952, after studying under Josef Dorowsky, Josef Hoffmann, and Herbert Boeckl at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, Alexander Rutsch received a scholarship to study in France, where he made contacts and began collaborations with his contemporaries Picasso and Dali, among others. In 1954, he exhibited his work at the Salon Artistique International de Saceux and won first prize for abstract painting, the first of many awards during his prolific career.

During the 13 years he lived in Paris, Rutsch exhibited in many prominent galleries there and throughout Europe. In 1958, the City of Paris awarded him with the prestigious Arts, Science and Letters Silver Medal. In 1966, Jean Desvilles presented his prize winning film “Le Monde de Rutsch” at the Cannes Film Festival and the Venice Biennial.  In 1968, Rutsch moved to Pelham, New York, where he continued to work in his studio and exhibit in galleries and museums worldwide.

Rutsch’s work, as seen through his mastery of various art forms – sculpture, painting, print-making, and drawing – has been described as “vibrating showers of lines, bold geometries, wounded anatomically rambling scrap-wood skeletons, enigmatic totem figures, and congregations of fetishized, domesticated, and recycled rubbish heaps [that] conspire to a fantasy of Expressionism, Cubism, Dada, Fauvism, Cobra, and Primitivism.”

The Alexander Rutsch Award and Exhibition program continues Rutsch’s belief that art transcends all of our humanity. Rutsch saw art as “the stone in the water sending ripples throughout the universe.” His extraordinary work, rich in the celebration of life and our shared human experiences, is included in many public and private collections throughout the U.S. and Europe. Pelham Art Center is proud to sponsor a competition and award to honor the memory and artistic achievement of Alexander Rutsch.

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