Call Detail
Alexander Rutsch Award and Exhibition for Painting 2021

Contact Email:
Call Type: Competitions
Eligibility: National
State: New York
Entry Deadline: 12/15/20
Application Closed
Images - Minimum: 4, Maximum: 20
Total Media - Minimum: 4, Maximum: 20
Entry Fee (Alexander Rutsch Award for Painting): $35.00


Biennial Competition - Alexander Rutsch Award and Exhibition for Painting 2021

 Solo Exhibition: May 14 – June 24, 2021 and $10,000 is cash awards


Pelham Art Center Announces its 11th Biennial

About the Rutsch Award

Pelham Art Center is pleased to announce a call for entries for the 11th 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 $7,500 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 10th Rutsch Award recipient was Colorado-based artist Sarah McKenzie. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Pelham Art Center, the 2021 Rutsch Award prize was increased to a total of $10,000 in artist stipends, with the winning artist receiving the $7,500 prize. The landmark stipend sum is also a response to the financial hardship affecting many artists at an exceptionally challenging time.

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.

Questions: contact 

Deadline for entries: December 15, 2020



All entries must be submitted through the CaFE website. Entries will be accepted starting September 1, 2020, through December 15, 2020.  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 15, 2020 11:59pm MST (i.e. 1:59am EST, 12:59am CST, 10:59pm PST)


Finalists Notified: January 15th 2021

Winner Notified: February 15th 2021

Exhibition Dates: May 14 - June 24 2021


Opening Reception & Award Presentation:  Saturday, May 15th from 1-4pm. 

Virtual Opening Reception: Friday May 21st 6pm



The prize winner will be awarded a solo exhibition at Pelham Art Center and a cash award of $7,500. The award finalists will also be receiving cash stipends of $200-$500.



Submit five (5) digital painting images through the online entry form. Any images submitted MUST be available for possible exhibition.

·         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.


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.


Winners of the Biennial Rutsch Award:

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


About Pelham Art Center

Pelham Art Center is a non-profit educational and cultural institution committed to providing public access to see, study and experience the arts, foster lifelong arts appreciation and thereby strengthen the community.  The Art Center was founded in 1970 and now serves more than 16,000 people each year.

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