Marian Wardle, Curator of American art for the BYU Museum of Art, will receive the prestigious W.E. Fischelis Award from the Victorian Society in America for her work as editor and co-author of the book, The Weir Family, 1820-1920: Expanding the Traditions of American Art. The book accompanies the current MOA show of the same title.
Wardle will accept the award at a Gala Awards Dinner on May 19, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency San Antonio. The award comes as a surprise to Wardle who knew nothing about her nomination for the award.
“I feel very honored,” Wardle said. “Mark Simpson, Wanda Corn, Cody Hartly and Michael Lewis won this award in 2009 for their catalog Like Breath on Glass: Whistler, Inness and the Art of Painting Softly, which was selected as the book of the year by the premier American art journal, The Victorian Society in America. I was very surprised that we had won the same award.”
Robert Walter Weir and his two sons, John Ferguson Weir and Julian Alden Weir, were the subjects of Wardle’s book, which was the first major study to examine their collective artistic production.
Wardle’s book gives a detailed account of the lives of the American men and women of the Weir art dynasty. This was done by examining letters, diaries, and paintings and is richly illustrated throughout. It contains more than 150 color and black-and-white images and seven scholarly essays. Heather Jensen of BYU’s art history faculty was among the seven scholars who contributed essays. Two BYU art history graduate students also contributed to the volume. Julianne Gough created a chronology of the Weir family and Danielle Hurd contributed a Weir Family Genealogy. The images add to the beauty of the book that explores the Weirs’ transatlantic encounters in the Hudson River Valley, New York, Connecticut, London, Paris, and Rome.
Only three book awards are given annually by the Victorian Society to books written about the 19th Century that best advance an understanding or appreciation of the decorative arts or architecture. The Ficshelis Award, awarded to a book dealing with 19th century art and artist, is not given out every year.
Book evaluation for the award included content, overall design, production quality, editing, and source material (footnotes, bibliography, etc.) There are a few additional requirements in order to qualify, which state that the book must be published in the year preceding the award, and the chronology and subject matter is in the period 1837-1917.
It is a great honor to receive such a prestigious award. Wardle will be presented with a fine hand-illuminated manuscript at a reception during the Society’s annual meeting. Wardle and her book will also be publicized as the winner on the Society’s website. We congratulate Marian Wardle on her success.
In 2011 the book also received a grant from the Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publication Fund of the College Art Association.
About the Victorian Society in America
The Victorian Society prides itself as “the only national non-profit organization committed to historic preservation, protection, understanding, education, and enjoyment of our nineteenth century heritage.” It was founded in 1966 after the destruction of New York’s Pennsylvania Station and was created as a form of protection for other important structures. It has since included publications, symposia, architectural tours, and summer schools to its list of involvement.