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Jasper Johns, Three Flags, 1958. Encaustic on canvas, overall: 30 7/8 x 45 1/2 x 5 in. (78.4 x 115.6 x 12.7 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; 50th Annivrsary Gift of the Gilman Foundation, Inc., The Lauder Foundation, A. Alfred Taubman, Laura-Lee Whittier Woods, and purchase 80.32. Photograph by Geoffery Clements.  Art (c) Jasper Johns by VAGA, New York, NY.
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Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation
171 Orange Street
New Haven, CT 06510
Fax: 203.639.5545

The Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award

The Tremaine Collection

The Tremaine art collection was widely considered to be one of the finest reflections of contemporary art before it was sold to create the asset base for the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation. It stood as a visual testament to the refined and courageous taste of its collectors, Burton and Emily Hall Tremaine.

Emily Hall Tremaine’s artistic vision helped her to collect works from artists who at the time were just starting to define contemporary art. Together, the Tremaines selected works that would be seminal for successive generations of artists and art collectors. In the words of Robert Rosenblum, the collection in its entirety invoked "new constellations of meaning and importance.” It broke with tradition and convention yet conveyed a sense of spirituality and contemplation. Its complexity offered many layers of meaning and insight to the viewer.

Purpose and Goal of the Award

The Exhibition Award was created in 1998 to honor the talent and artistic vision of Emily Hall Tremaine, the founder of the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation. Her passion for art and supporting living artists inspired, challenged and brought joy to those around her. Through the award, the Foundation seeks to give life to thematic exhibitions of contemporary art that are fresh and experimental in nature and for which funding is not yet forthcoming.

Guidelines and Timeline

Applications are accepted on a biennial basis (the next deadline will be in January 2016) from any curator, or curatorial team, applying in partnership with an established non-profit exhibition space, whether a traditional gallery or museum, or an alternative non-profit venue. The curator can be on staff at the partnering exhibition space or a guest/independent curator working with the partnering space for this exhibit. The proposal should be for a strong, thematic exhibition that puts the works of contemporary art and/or architecture in a new or unconventional aesthetic, historical, cultural, and/or social framework.  Applicants are encouraged to think expansively and challenge conventional thought through the exploration of critical ideas in the context of contemporary art. The award is intended to provide support for exhibitions at the beginning stage of their development and to offer the curator the support needed to fully explore a concept and realize an exhibition. 

  • Curator or curatorial team in partnership with an established (at least five years), non-profit exhibition space, whether a traditional gallery or museum, or an alternative non-profit venue
  • Innovative contemporary art (post 1950) thematic exhibition concept at the beginning stage of development
  • Funding requests up to $150,000 with a minimum request of $50,000
  • Exhibition space must be located within the United States
  • Single artist exhibitions, retrospectives and artist collective exhibitions
  • Exhibitions composed solely of works of graduate students/faculty at a university
  • Non-profit exhibition space based outside of the United States
  • Exhibitions with multiple large funding sources (The Exhibition Award should be the sole or primary source of funding for the exhibition. Therefore, the Exhibition Award request should represent at least 66% of all funding secured or sought from outside of the partnering institution.)
  • Previous awardees (Once a curator receives the award they must wait four years before they can reapply for the award.  The partner exhibiting institution is exempt from this restriction.  They may serve as a partner institution on an application submitted at the next Exhibition Award round.)


  • October 2015 - Application available on EHTF website
  • January 2016 - Application deadline
  • May 2016 - Public announcement of the 2016 Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award recipients.

Given that the Exhibition Award is designed to support the curator’s research and development process as well as the exhibition, the exhibition must open no sooner than May 2017 and no later than May 2019.

Review Criteria for the Jury

For each award cycle, three internationally acclaimed contemporary art curators are selected to serve as jury panelists to review the applications.  The criteria that the jury panel will use to determine the award recipients include:
  • Intellectual quality of the proposal's premise
  • Degree of innovation
  • Distinction from other major art exhibitions either planned or mounted within the last 15 years with a similar topic
  • Potential for both professional and public impact
  • Feasibility of implementation
  • Quality and excellence of the works of art to be included
  • Capacity of the exhibition space to physically accomplish the vision of the concept

Re-Applying Criteria

Curators and institutions may submit only one application in each award cycle.  Once a curator receives the award they must wait four years before they can reapply for the award.  The partner exhibiting institution is exempt from this restriction.  Even after receiving an Exhibition Award, the exhibiting institution may serve as a partner on applications in consecutive cycles.


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