Founded by Bertha Noyes in May 1916, its first president was Henry Kirke Bush-Brown; Mathilde Mueden Leisenring was among its original members, as were Susan Brown Chase, Catharine Carter Critcher, Lola Sleeth Miller, Bertha E. Perrie, and Mary Gine Riley.
It is located at the Cleveland Abbe House. Since 2006, the Club has awarded the Marfield Prize, also known as the National Award for Arts Writing, for nonfiction books about the arts written for a broad audience.
The Marfield Prize, National Award for Arts Writing
The Marfield Prize, also known as the National Award for Arts Writing, is given annually by the Arts Club of Washington to nonfiction books about the arts written for a broad audience. Intended to help increase access to the arts, the Prize "celebrates prose that is lucid, luminous, clear, and inspiring—writing that creates a strong connection with arts and artists."
The Prize of $10,000, which the Club asserts is the only one of its kind in the country, honors nonfiction books first published in the U.S., by a single author who is living at the time of the book’s nomination. 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.
The award is given to the author of a nonfiction book about any artistic discipline (visual, literary, performing, or media arts, as well as cross-disciplinary works. Works of art history and criticism, biographies and memoirs, and essays are all eligible. Anthologies, creative works of fiction or poetry, books for children, exhibition catalogs and self-published books are not eligible.
Members of the club noticed that there was a lack of "good, accessible writing about the arts," according to former award administrator Sarah Browning. Club members decided to use a bequest by longtime member Jeannie S. Marfield to remedy the situation. In addition to the annual winners, the Club publishes the names of several finalists.
List of winners
|Year awarded||Winner||Title||Publisher||Published year|
|2018||Wendy Lesser||You say to brick : the life of Louis Kahn||Farrar, Straus and Girou||2017 |
|2017||Rachel Corbett||You Must Change Your Life||W. W. Norton||2016 |
|2016||Michael Riedel||Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway||Simon & Schuster||2015 |
|2015||Philip Gefter||Wagstaff: Before and After Mapplethorpe||Liveright||2014|
|2014||Sherill Tippins||Inside the Dream Palace: The Life and Times of New York’s Legendary Chelsea Hotel||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt||2013|
|2013||Anne-Marie O’Connor||The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer||Knopf||2012|
|2012||Yael Tamar Lewin||Night’s Dancer: The Life of Janet Collins||Wesleyan University Press||2011|
|2011||R. Tripp Evans||Grant Wood: A Life||Knopf||2010|
|2010||Linda Gordon||Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits||W. W. Norton & Co.||2009|
|2009||Michael Sragow||Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master||Pantheon Books||2008|
|2008||Brenda Wineapple||White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson||Knopf||2008|
|2008||Jenny Uglow||Nature’s Engraver: A Life of Thomas Bewick||Farrar, Straus & Giroux||2007|
|2007||Scott Reynolds Nelson||Steel Drivin’ Man—John Henry: The Untold Story||Oxford University Press||2006|
- "Pat Moore on Mathilde Mueden Leisenring Exhibit". YouTube. 2011-12-09. Retrieved 2017-01-30.
- Virgil E. McMahan (1995). The Artists of Washington, D.C., 1796-1996. Artists of Washington. ISBN 978-0-9649101-0-2.
- Montgomery, David (2011-05-20). "Arts Club of Washington's quirky downtown haven of clubby culture survives the ages". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
- "Friday Noon Concerts - DC Art Events | DC Wedding Reception Venue". DC Art Events | DC Wedding Reception Venue. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
- "The Arts Club of Washington's 2018 Scholarship Competition | Corcoran School of the Arts & Design | The George Washington University". corcoran.gwu.edu. Archived from the original on 2018-04-06. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
- "2014 Award Guidelines". Arts Club of Washington. Archived from the original on 2014-12-25. Retrieved 2014-12-30.
- Thompson, Bob (April 27, 2007). "Tale of Folk Hero Wins New Award For Arts Writing". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
- "Wendy Lesser Receives $10,000 Marfield Prize for Arts Writing". Arts Club of Washington. Archived from the original on 2018-04-05. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
- Maidman, Daniel (July 17, 2017). "A Conversation with Rachel Corbett". The Huffington Post.
- Cascone, Sarah (20 March 2017). "Rachel Corbett Wins $10,000 Marfield Prize for Arts Writing". artnet News.
- Sturgeon, Jonathon (September 23, 2016). "Auguste Rodin and Rainer Maria Rilke Had a Strange, Moody Friendship: Rachel Corbett's elegant 'You Must Change Your Life' traces the paths of the sculptor and the poet". Artnet News.
- "Rachel Corbett Wins $10,000 Marfield Prize for Arts Writing". Artforum. March 24, 2017.
- "Michael Riedel's RAZZLE DAZZLE Wins $10,000 MARFIELD PRIZE National Award for Arts Writing". Broadway World. April 30, 2016.
- Lloyd Webber, Imogen (May 2, 2016). "Odds & Ends: Oprah to Star in George C. Wolfe Film, Drama Desk Awards to Add Book Category & More". broadway.com.
- Charles, Ron (March 11, 2014). "Terry Teachout among finalists for $10,000 Marfield Prize for arts writing". The Washington Post.
- "Award winning biographer Tripp Evans to Read at Baker Books May 4 at 7 p.m." South Coast Today. April 28, 2011.
- Official website
- Arts Club of Washington, D.C. Collection, 1916-1990, DC Library
- Arts Club of Washington scrapbooks, 1916-1991, Archives of American Art