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Art and artists evolve, introducing new movements through differing approaches. One such movement is figurative art.  According to the Tate Gallery, figurative art is any form of modern art that retains strong references to the real world and particularly to the human figure. The term has been particularly used since the arrival of abstract art to refer to artists that retain aspects of the real world as their subject matter.

The re-emergence of figurative art in the US

 

As late Modernism progressed, art making became more and more reductive. Storytelling, personal narrative and technical training became almost obsolete. And while movements like the Chicago Imagists and the Bay Area Funk scene embraced figuration, they remained at the margins of the larger art world and reveled in their outsider status.

As New York artists continued to move away from metaphor and storytelling, artists from Europe gave momentum to figurative movements including the Transavanguardia and the Neo-Expressionists in the 1970s and 80s. But even these movements were largely preoccupied with finding the authentic in the deskilled.

It is within this context of what was perceived as a decline in figurative art training and artistry, that in 1982 a group of artists, scholars and patrons of the arts, including Andy Warhol, founded the New York Academy of Art to foster a re-emergence in the training of figurative and representational art.

Fast forward to 2018 and a global commercial insurer (AXA XL) has partnered with one of the leading figurative art institutions in the country (the New York Academy of Art) to create one of the United States’ premier student art competitions seeking to discover emerging artists across the country.

The competition

 

AXA XL and the New York Academy of Art, which have had a long relationship through fine art insurance and risk management, together saw an opportunity to continue a legacy of supporting art internationally by launching the U.S. competition. Although other student art competitions existed, none was specifically focused on figurative and representational art.

The XL Catlin Art Prize was launched in December 2017 to recognize and exhibit works by art students in the U.S. The prize complements previous programs and exhibitions that the company sponsored internationally and is intended to bring more attention to figurative art and emerging artists, in effect re-emphasizing the role of personal storytelling, craft and complexity.

The nationwide competition was open to currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students majoring in art and focused on two-dimensional figurative and representational art. Over 700 submissions were received and regional and exhibition juries selected the 40 student artists that toured the country in the travelling XL Catlin Art Prize exhibition.

The top 40 artists were selected by an Exhibition Jury comprised of Ian Alteveer, Curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Jennie Goldstein, Assistant Curator at the Whitney Museum, Laura Hoptman, Curator at the Museum of Modern Art, and Kara Vander Weg, Director at Gagosian Gallery.

After showing in San Francisco and Chicago, the exhibition wraps-up its inaugural year in the U.S. with the announcement of the first and second prize winners in New York on November 28. The winners have been chosen by renowned artists Nicole Eisenman, Eric Fischl and Amy Sherald, and Jennifer Schipf, Senior Vice President for Fine Art & Specie insurance at AXA XL.

After showing in San Francisco and Chicago, the exhibition wraps-up its inaugural year in the U.S. with the announcement of the first and second prize winners in New York on November 28.Impressive pool of entries Jurors and others who viewed the works on exhibit in San Francisco and Chicago said they were quite impressed by the diverse pool of entries. Many observers cited “staggeringly good craftsmanship” and “surprise at how much good figurative art is out there.” Others said, “it didn’t feel like a student art show; it felt like a professional exhibition.”The shortlisted artists, 20 young women and 20 young men, are enrolled at 24 different schools and range in age from 19 to 27. The artists hail from four different countries and 19 states across the U.S. Six schools had two artists make the cut: Hunter College, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Rhode Island School of Design, San Francisco Art Institute, Savannah College of Art and Design, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Three shortlisted artists are from Yale University, four from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and five from the New York Academy of ArtFor student artists, such exposure is a remarkable opportunity and a highly encouraging sign for the future of figurative art. AXA XL and the New York Academy of Art are proud to support art and emerging talent, and are already looking at ways to expand the Prize for 2019.For information on the Prize, juries and artists, please visit xlcatlinartprize.com.   About the AuthorsJennifer Schipf is head of AXA XL’s Fine Art and Specie business and Broker Client Management for Global Lines. Before joining XL Catlin in 2008, she led U.S. fine art underwriting at a global insurance company. She has extensive career experience and knowledge of fine art, and worked at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., before entering the insurance industry.Peter Drake is Provost of the New York Academy of Art. His art has been featured in 27 solo exhibitions and is held in numerous private, public and corporate collections. He actively lectures, curates and serves as a board member for the Artists’ Fellowship Inc.
 

Impressive pool of entries

 

Jurors and others who viewed the works on exhibit in San Francisco and Chicago said they were quite impressed by the diverse pool of entries. Many observers cited “staggeringly good craftsmanship” and “surprise at how much good figurative art is out there.” Others said, “it didn’t feel like a student art show; it felt like a professional exhibition.”


The shortlisted artists, 20 young women and 20 young men, are enrolled at 24 different schools and range in age from 19 to 27. The artists hail from four different countries and 19 states across the U.S. Six schools had two artists make the cut: Hunter College, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Rhode Island School of Design, San Francisco Art Institute, Savannah College of Art and Design, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Three shortlisted artists are from Yale University, four from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and five from the New York Academy of Art


For student artists, such exposure is a remarkable opportunity and a highly encouraging sign for the future of figurative art. AXA XL and the New York Academy of Art are proud to support art and emerging talent, and are already looking at ways to expand the Prize for 2019.


For information on the Prize, juries and artists, please visit  xlcatlinartprize.com.

 

 

 

About the Authors

Jennifer Schipf is head of AXA XL’s Fine Art and Specie business and Broker Client Management for Global Lines. Before joining XL Catlin in 2008, she led U.S. fine art underwriting at a global insurance company. She has extensive career experience and knowledge of fine art, and worked at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., before entering the insurance industry.

Peter Drake is Provost of the New York Academy of Art. His art has been featured in 27 solo exhibitions and is held in numerous private, public and corporate collections. He actively lectures, curates and serves as a board member for the Artists’ Fellowship Inc.

Impressive pool of entries

 

Jurors and others who viewed the works on exhibit in San Francisco and Chicago said they were quite impressed by the diverse pool of entries. Many observers cited “staggeringly good craftsmanship” and “surprise at how much good figurative art is out there.” Others said, “it didn’t feel like a student art show; it felt like a professional exhibition.”

The shortlisted artists, 20 young women and 20 young men, are enrolled at 24 different schools and range in age from 19 to 27. The artists hail from four different countries and 19 states across the U.S. Six schools had two artists make the cut: Hunter College, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Rhode Island School of Design, San Francisco Art Institute, Savannah College of Art and Design, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Three shortlisted artists are from Yale University, four from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and five from the New York Academy of Art

For student artists, such exposure is a remarkable opportunity and a highly encouraging sign for the future of figurative art. AXA XL and the New York Academy of Art are proud to support art and emerging talent, and are already looking at ways to expand the Prize for 2019.

For information on the Prize, juries and artists, please visit xlcatlinartprize.com.

 

 

 

About the Authors

Jennifer Schipf is head of AXA XL’s Fine Art and Specie business and Broker Client Management for Global Lines. Before joining XL Catlin in 2008, she led U.S. fine art underwriting at a global insurance company. She has extensive career experience and knowledge of fine art, and worked at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., before entering the insurance industry.

Peter Drake is Provost of the New York Academy of Art. His art has been featured in 27 solo exhibitions and is held in numerous private, public and corporate collections. He actively lectures, curates and serves as a board member for the Artists’ Fellowship Inc.

Impressive pool of entries

 

Jurors and others who viewed the works on exhibit in San Francisco and Chicago said they were quite impressed by the diverse pool of entries. Many observers cited “staggeringly good craftsmanship” and “surprise at how much good figurative art is out there.” Others said, “it didn’t feel like a student art show; it felt like a professional exhibition.”

The shortlisted artists, 20 young women and 20 young men, are enrolled at 24 different schools and range in age from 19 to 27. The artists hail from four different countries and 19 states across the U.S. Six schools had two artists make the cut: Hunter College, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Rhode Island School of Design, San Francisco Art Institute, Savannah College of Art and Design, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Three shortlisted artists are from Yale University, four from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and five from the New York Academy of Art

For student artists, such exposure is a remarkable opportunity and a highly encouraging sign for the future of figurative art. AXA XL and the New York Academy of Art are proud to support art and emerging talent, and are already looking at ways to expand the Prize for 2019.

For information on the Prize, juries and artists, please visit xlcatlinartprize.com.

 

 

 

About the Authors

Jennifer Schipf is head of AXA XL’s Fine Art and Specie business and Broker Client Management for Global Lines. Before joining XL Catlin in 2008, she led U.S. fine art underwriting at a global insurance company. She has extensive career experience and knowledge of fine art, and worked at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., before entering the insurance industry.

Peter Drake is Provost of the New York Academy of Art. His art has been featured in 27 solo exhibitions and is held in numerous private, public and corporate collections. He actively lectures, curates and serves as a board member for the Artists’ Fellowship Inc.

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US- and Canada-Issued Insurance Policies

In the US, the AXA XL insurance companies are: AXA Insurance Company, Catlin Insurance Company, Inc., Greenwich Insurance Company, Indian Harbor Insurance Company, XL Insurance America, Inc., XL Specialty Insurance Company and T.H.E. Insurance Company. In Canada, coverages are underwritten by XL Specialty Insurance Company - Canadian Branch and AXA Insurance Company - Canadian branch. Coverages may also be underwritten by Lloyd’s Syndicate #2003. Coverages underwritten by Lloyd’s Syndicate #2003 are placed on behalf of the member of Syndicate #2003 by Catlin Canada Inc. Lloyd’s ratings are independent of AXA XL.
US domiciled insurance policies can be written by the following AXA XL surplus lines insurers: XL Catlin Insurance Company UK Limited, Syndicates managed by Catlin Underwriting Agencies Limited and Indian Harbor Insurance Company. Enquires from US residents should be directed to a local insurance agent or broker permitted to write business in the relevant state.