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Alexander Rutsch Award and Exhibition for Painting 2023

May 18, 2023 - June 29, 2023


Call for Submissions EXTENDED – Submit Here

See below for further submission deadlines & guidelines


About the Rutsch Award

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 and $2,500 is divided among the finalists. 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 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.

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. 


Questions: contact [email protected]

Submission Deadline Extended through December 19th!

Deadline for entries: December 19, 2022


All entries must be submitted through the CaFE website. Entries will be accepted starting August 1, 2022, through December 19, 2022.  Only U.S.-based artists, 19 years of age and older, are eligible to apply.

Entry Fee

$35 per applicant, for five images of available work. Pay by credit card through the secure online entry form. Payment must be made through the entry form. Entry fees are non-refundable.


Entry Receipt Deadline:  December 19, 2022 11:59pm MST (i.e. 1:59am EST, 12:59am CST, 10:59pm PST)


Finalists Notified: January 23rd  2023

Winner Notified: February 27th 2023

Exhibition Dates: May 18 – June 29 2023



The prize winner will be awarded a solo exhibition at Pelham Art Center and a cash award of $5,000. The award finalists will also be receiving cash stipends totaling $2,500.


  • Must submit between 5 and 8 pieces of artwork.  All artwork submitted must be available for the exhibit in the event that you are the award winner
  • File format: JPEG only
  • File dimensions: No smaller than 1200 pixels on the longest side
  • File resolution: 72 ppi/dpi (standard web resolution)
  • File size: 5 MB maximum

Work Size

  • Paintings must not exceed 84 x 84 inches.


  • Finalists will be contacted and required to submit an artist’s statement, résumé, and images of 20 additional available works.
  • Artists must be US Citizens. 19 Years of age or older.


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. Rutsch said of his experiences with Picasso, “Picasso played a short but important moment in my life in Paris that affected my entire artistic future. I learned from him that it is not important if art is not aesthetically finished. It can be raw, uncooked, rough. If an artist feels he has said it – it is not important to polish or finish it. Because of Picasso, I learned that if I don’t feel the need to finish – I don’t have to.” 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.” His pieces, as described by Emily Genauer, impart silence and the monumentality of primitive statuary. His sculptures are stylized to abstract construction made of “found” objects, welded and reshaped into bronze figures and animals of uncommon wit, airy grace, and individuality. His portraits are crisp, intense, spare linear characterizations that convey empathy. Pelham Art Center is proud to sponsor a competition and award to honor the memory and artistic achievement of Alexander Rutsch. Visit to learn more.

Previous Winners of the Biennial Rutsch Award:

2021 Award Winner: Matthew Cole

2019 Award Winner: Sarah McKenzie

2017 Award Winner: Sammy Chong

2015 Award Winner: Lindy Chambers

2013 Award Winner: Siobhan McBride

2011 Award Winner: Nina Rizzo

2009 Award Winner: Tracy Miller

2007 Award Winner: Liang Guo

2005 Award Winner: Dorothy Robinson

2003 Award Winner: Mitchell Marco

2001 Award Winner: Frank Trankina


Download the Press Release for the 2023 Call for Submissions