Award for Arts Writing
The Arts Club of Washington has named Anne-Marie O’Connor the winner of the Seventh Annual Marfield Prize, National Award for Arts Writing for her book, The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (Knopf: 2012). The $10,000 award is unique in the world of publishing, and is one of the country’s largest literary prizes given to a single author. The Lady in Gold was selected from among four finalist titles that also included Michael Dirda, On Conan Doyle: Or, the Whole Art of Storytelling (Princeton University Press); Timothy Egan, The Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt); and David Thomson, The Big Screen: The Story of the Movies (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).
Ms. O’Connor will be honored on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at a dinner at the Arts Club, 2017 I Street, NW, Washington, D.C. On Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 7:30 p.m., she will speak about her book in a free public program at the Club. The author will also speak with students at Duke Ellington School of the Arts while she in DC.
The Lady in Gold tells the story of Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, one of the most emblematic portraits of its time; of the beautiful, seductive Viennese Jewish salon hostess who sat for it; the notorious artist who painted it; the now vanished turn-of-the-century Vienna that shaped it; and the strange twisted fate that befell it: stolen by Nazis and renamed The Lady in Gold, the painting became the subject of a decade-long litigation between the Austrian government and the Bloch-Bauer heirs that went before the US Supreme Court, whose decision had profound ramifications for the art world.
Ms. O’Connor attended Vassar College, studied painting at the San Francisco Art Institute, and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. She was a foreign correspondent for Reuters and a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times for twelve years, and has written extensively on the Klimt painting and the Bloch-Bauer family’s efforts to recover its art collection. Her articles have appeared in Esquire, The Nation, and The Christian Science Monitor. She currently writes for The Washington Post from Mexico City.
About the National Award for Arts Writing
The National Award for Arts Writing is given annually by the Arts Club of Washington to the authors of a nonfiction book about the visual, literary or performing arts. Works first published in the United States during the previous calendar year are eligible for consideration. Created to generate broader interest in the arts among general readers, the award celebrates prose that is lucid, luminous, clear, and inspiring—writing that creates a strong connection with arts and artists. First given in 2006, the prize’s endowment was established by long-time Arts Club member Jeannie S. Marfield in honor of Florence Berryman and Helen Wharton.
Publishers, agents, or authors may submit books for consideration. The submission period for the 2013 award will begin in August 2013.
Photo credit: Araceli Garcia