VMFA Annual Literary Award

Art in Literature: The Mary Lynn Kotz Award

Sponsored jointly by VMFA and Library of Virginia, Art in Literature: The Mary Lynn Kotz Award celebrates the connection between art and literature with an award for books published on the visual arts the previous year. This award is presented during Library of Virginia’s annual Virginia Literary Festival each October.

To be eligible for this award, books, which may be in a variety of genres of prose or poetry, must have been published in the previous calendar year, in English, and in the United States. Each year a panel of judges composed of authorities in the fields of the visual arts and literature  review the nominated works and select the finalists and the award winner.

Nominations for Art in Literature: The Mary Lynn Kotz Award may be submitted through the Virginia Literary Festival website.

Author Mary Gabriel and the cover for her book

2019 Winner: Mary Gabriel, Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement That Changed Modern Art



Art Meets Literature: An Undying Love Affair

Fri, Oct 18, 6–8 pm | Marble Hall

The Library of Virginia and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts are pleased to announce the winner of the annual Art in Literature: The Mary Lynn Kotz Award. The judges selected Mary Gabriel's Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler -- Five Painters and the Movement That Changed Modern Art. Gabriel will be recognized on Friday, October 18, 2019, at the VMFA and on Saturday, October 19, 2019, at the Library of Virginia's annual Virginia Literary Awards Celebration.

This event will feature a presentation by the award recipient, Mary Gabriel, followed by a book signing and reception.

$8 (VMFA members $5)


About Mary Lynn Kotz

The award is named in honor of author and journalist Mary Lynn Kotz, a longtime contributing editor for ARTnews magazine, who has built a career interviewing, researching, writing, and lecturing about art and artists—among them Georgia O’Keeffe and John Cage. Her critically acclaimed book Rauschenberg/Art and Life (Abrams) balances deft observations of craft with a biographer’s chronicle of the American artist’s (1925–2008) innovations, experiences, and extensive collaborations. A best-selling author with four other nonfiction books, for years Mrs. Kotz has spoken passionately to arts and literary organizations and general audiences about the need for clear, exciting writing about art. Through her consistent service to cultural institutions and initiatives, including many in her beloved Virginia, Kotz has shown a lifelong commitment to making the arts a vital and illuminating presence in our society.

Past Winners

2018 – Donna M. LuceySargent’s Women: Four Lives Behind the Canvas
2017 – Dawn TrippGeorgia
2016 – Patrick HorriganPortraits at an Exhibition
2015 – Susan VreelandLisette’s List
2014 – Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda – The Embrace: Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo
2013 – Orhan PamukThe Innocence of Objects