Friday, October 30, 2009

MFA neglects to award prize for neglected women artists

From my report on the Boston Museum of Fine Arts neglect of the Maud Morgan Prize:
In 1993, on the occasion of her 90th birthday, friends of prominent Cambridge artist Maud Morgan donated funds to Boston's Museum of Fine Arts to establish a prize in her name. (She died six years later.) The Maud Morgan Purchase Prize would celebrate under-appreciated mid-career Massachusetts female artists.

Beginning that year, the MFA give the prize to one artist annually, and has since so honored 13 artists, the last being Ambreen Butt in 2006. Butt's work was showcased at the MFA and she received $5000 in exchange for one of her paintings entering the museum's collection. But though the MFA said the Morgan Purchase Prize "was permanently endowed through fundraising by friends of the esteemed artist in 1997," the MFA has not awarded the prize to any artist since Butt.

It's easy to miss things when they disappear — stuff that's gone doesn't call attention to itself. But last week, while doing some unrelated research, I was reminded of the Morgan Purchase Prize. So I e-mailed the MFA to inquire about its status.
Read the rest here.

Pictured: Maud Morgan with self-portrait, circa 1990, from the collection of the Smithsonian Archives of American Art.


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