New York, April 27, 2005 -- The American Academy of Arts and Letters announced today the seven recipients of this year's awards in art, which total over $40,000. The winners were selected by a committee of Academy members: Mark di Suvero, Wolf Kahn, Yvonne Jacquette, Philip Pearlstein, Martin Puryear, Dorothea Rockburne, and Kenneth Snelson. The awards will be presented at the Academy's annual Ceremonial in May.

Candidates for art awards are nominated by the members of the Academy. Thirty two finalists were invited to participate in the Academy's annual Invitational Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture, and the award committee selected the seven winners from this exhibition.

Academy Awards in Art

Five Academy Awards in Art are given each year to honor exceptional accomplishment. This year, the $7500 awards will be presented to:

Phong Bui
Kendall Buster
Lynn Davis
Judith Murray
Phoebe Washburn

Jimmy Ernst Award in Art

The $5000 Jimmy Ernst Award in Art, established by Dallas Ernst in memory of her husband, is given to a ''painter or sculptor whose lifetime contribution to his or her vision has been both consistent and dedicated.''   Richard Haas

Rosenthal Foundation Award in Painting

The $5000 Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award is presented annually to a ''young American painter of distinction.''   Alessandra Exposito

Art Purchase Program

The Academy's purchase program began in 1946 with the goal to place the work of talented, living American artists in museums across the country. In recent years, purchase selections have been made from the annual Invitational Exhibition in the spring. Since the inauguration of the purchase program, the Academy has spent almost $2.7 million for the purchase of over 1100 works of art. After the death of the American Impressionist painter, Childe Hassam (1859-1935), his widow, Maude Hassam, began this program with a bequest of over 400 of his works, with the stipulation that the accumulated income from their sale be used to establish a fund to purchase paintings and works on paper. Similar bequests were made by Academy members Eugene Speicher (1883-1962), Louis Betts (1873-1961), and Gardner Symons (1865-1930).

These artists' works were purchased in 2005 and will be donated to museums:

Eve Aschheim
Jake Berthot
Gideon Bok
Katherine Bradford
Thomas Brouillette
Lynn Davis
Corda Eby
James Esber
Alessandra Exposito
Heide Fasnacht
Monte Schatz
Barbara Takenaga
Heide Trepanier
John Willenbecher

Exhibition of Art Award Winners and Purchase Artists

Work by these artists will be featured in the Exhibition of Work by Newly Elected Members and Recipients of Honors and Awards, from May 19 through June 19, 2005, at the Academy's galleries, on Broadway, between 155th and 156th Streets. Gallery hours are Thursday through Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The galleries will be closed for the Memorial Day holiday on Sunday, May 29.