Michael Lobel Awarded the 28th Annual Eldredge Prize

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has awarded the 2016 Charles C. Eldredge Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in American Art to Michael Lobel, professor of art history at Hunter College in New York City, for his book John Sloan: Drawing on Illustration (Yale University Press, 2014). The jurors cited the meticulous research and exceptionally high quality of prose of the book. They also stated that while Sloan’s early work in illustration has frequently been treated as a precursor to his mature career as a painter or printmaker, Lobel restores the intellectual and visual seriousness to these works that the artist intended.

The three jurors who awarded the $3,000 prize were Jessica May, chief curator at the Portland Museum of Art, Maine; Kevin Murphy, Eugénie Prendergast Curator of American Art at the Williams College Museum of Art; and Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, associate professor of American art at the University of Pennsylvania.

The jurors wrote: “Drawing on Illustration provides a radical rethinking of Sloan’s career by demonstrating the artist’s consummate skill in blending image, idea and technique. In so doing, Lobel substantively shifts our understanding of the art history of early 20th-century America. He shows that far from simply picturing the city and metropolitan lives, Sloan contributed to the construction of urban visual culture, disseminating his work far and wide. It is a timely book that could not have been written any number of years ago; it belongs to now with its attention to dramatic technological change, to the unsteady relationship between culture and politics, to the circulation of images through mass media,  and to shifting hierarchies of value. The book is a call to action: many of Sloan’s Ashcan peers and contemporaries could be looked at productively through the lens that Lobel provides.”

Lobel will give the annual Eldredge Prize lecture at the Smithsonian American Art Museum on October 27th, 2016. For more information about the prize, and to see a list of past winners, please visit:http://www.americanart.si.edu/research/awards/eldredge/.