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Exhibition to go on view in New York this fall
40 student artists chosen from over 600 submissions
First prize winner to be selected in November by VIP artists

AXA XL is pleased to announce the 2021 exhibition shortlist of the AXA Art Prize. The works of the 40 finalist student artists will go on view in November at the New York Academy of Art and will also be presented as a digital exhibition in the AXA Art Prize virtual gallery. An illustrated catalogue featuring an essay by critic Seph Rodney will be available as well.

The 2021 Finalists

For the fourth edition of the Prize, over 600 submissions were received from a record 147 undergraduate and graduate schools across the U.S. Submissions were first reviewed by regional jurors from the Prize’s Strategic Advisory Board of 36 major art schools and programs in the U.S. including the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Pratt Institute and Bard College.

The final 40 works in the exhibition, which include paintings, drawings and prints, were chosen by an Exhibition Jury comprised of Ian Alteveer, Curator for Modern and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Harry Cooper, Senior Curator and Head of Modern Art at the National Gallery of Art, Rita Gonzales, Head of Contemporary Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Ashley James, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

The shortlisted artists are enrolled at 26 different schools and hail from 19 different states. Seven schools have multiple shortlisted artists: California College of the Arts, Cleveland Institute of Art, Kansas City Art Institute, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the University of Georgia each have two finalists, Claremont Graduate University has three, and the New York Academy of Art generated eight finalists. Two artists who made the 2020 shortlist were accepted once again in 2021.

Commenting, Jennifer Schipf Global Chief Underwriting Officer - Fine Art & Specie for AXA XL said, “The quantity and quality of the works submitted in this fourth edition of the Prize is phenomenal and highlights the importance of providing exhibition platforms, networking opportunities and financial support for emerging talent.”

The Prize

The AXA Art Prize was launched in 2017 as the XL Catlin Art Prize, and quickly established itself as one of the premier student art competitions in the U.S. The Prize is open to figurative paintings, drawings and prints made by undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in courses in the U.S.
The first prize is $10,000 and second prize is $5,000; winners will be chosen by renowned artists Bo Bartlett, Rachel Feinstein, Elizabeth Peyton, Calida Rawles and Peter Saul alongside Jennifer Schipf, Global Chief Underwriting Officer– Fine Art & Specie at AXA XL. Previous juries consisted of Nicole Eisenman, Eric Fischl and Amy Sherald (2018); Sanford Biggers, Will Cotton, John Currin and Tschabalala Self (2019); and Julia Chiang, Erik Parker, Laurie Simmons and Salman Toor (2020).

The AXA Art Prize has developed a reputation for discovering new contemporary artists. Previous Prize winners include 2018’s Monica Ikegwu, an undergraduate from the Maryland College Institute of Art, who has since had a solo exhibition at Band of Vices Gallery in Los Angeles and been featured in major group shows including “Renaissance Noir” at UTA Artists Space. The 2019 winner, Anna Park, who was at the time completing her masters at the New York Academy of Art, was subsequently signed to T293 Gallery in Rome and featured in a museum exhibition at The Drawing Center in New York.

For complete details on the competition visit and follow the AXA Art Prize on Instagram and on Facebook.

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AXA XL1, the property & casualty and specialty risk division of AXA, provides insurance and risk management products and services for mid-sized companies through to large multinationals, and reinsurance solutions to insurance companies globally. We partner with those who move the world forward. To learn more, visit    


AXA XL1 Insurance offers property, casualty, professional, financial lines and specialty insurance solutions to mid-sized companies through to large multinationals globally. We partner with those who move the world forward. To learn more, visit


Founded in 1982 by artists, scholars and patrons of the arts, including Andy Warhol, the New York Academy of Art is a not-for-profit educational and cultural institution which combines intensive technical training in drawing, painting and sculpture with active critical discourse. Academy students are taught traditional methods and techniques and encouraged to use these skills to make vital contemporary art. Through major exhibitions, a lively speaker series, and an ambitious educational program, the Academy serves as a creative and intellectual center for all artists dedicated to highly skilled, conceptually aware figurative and representational art.

1AXA XL is a division of AXA Group providing products and services through three business groups: AXA XL Insurance, AXA XL Reinsurance, and AXA XL Risk Consulting.