(L-R) Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess; Berthe Lutgen, artist and laureate of the Luxembourg Art Prize; Sam Tanson, Minister of Culture; Lucien Kayser, art critic and President of the arts and letters section of the Grand-Ducal Institute; Credit: MCULT

On Friday 11 November 2022, artist Berthe Lutgen received the first Luxembourg Art Prize (Lëtzebuerger Konschtpräis) from Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess in the context of Luxembourg Art Week.

Luxembourg's Minister of Culture, Sam Tanson, congratulated the winner of this new award from the Ministry of Culture in the field of visual arts: “With this prize, we rather reward an exceptional artistic journey, the work of a life and a career, or even a whole commitment in favor of creation and the cultural cause. Beyond the financial reward, this kind of prize symbolizes the great esteem we have for our artists. I am particularly touched to present the prize to Berthe Lutgen, whose career has always been marked by a keen eye on society, an infallible feminist commitment and a great loyalty to painting”.

The prize

Endowed with €10,000, this biennial prize distinguishes an artist for all of his/her work, his/her career as well as his/her lasting commitment to the Luxembourg artistic scene. Eligible artists are required to be active in the field of visual arts, of Luxembourg nationality, living/working in Luxembourg or having a strong cultural anchorage in the artistic scene of the country.

The creation of this prize corresponds to recommendation 21 of the Kulturentwécklungsplang 2018-2028: "Establish a system for awarding prizes highlighting cultural and artistic creations".

For this first edition of this prize, which will be awarded every two years, the winner was also honoured with an original trophy made by the artist and designer Claude Schmitz, namely a patinated silver brooch symbolising the importance of the voice of artists in the society.

The Jury

The motivation of the jury, composed of

  • Jamie Armstrong, art historian and head of the Lëtzebuerger Konschtarchiv at the MNHA,
  • Marie-Claude Beaud, art historian, exhibition curator, former director of Mudam and president of the jury,
  • Lucien Kayser, art critic and president of the arts and letters section of the Grand-Ducal Institute,
  • Paul Reiles, jurist, director of the National Museum of History and Art e.r. and former President of the National Cultural Fund,
  • Edmond Thill, museum educator, former head of the educational service at the National Museum of History and Art and secretary of the arts and letters section of the Grand-Ducal Institute,

was presented by Lucien Kayser: "The members of the jury set up by the Ministry of Culture for the first edition of the Lëtzebuerger Konschtpräis unanimously chose the artist Berthe Lutgen, who seemed to them to meet all the criteria set out during the creation of the prize: a career and a set of recognised works, a very personal place on the Luxembourg artistic scene.

Berthe Lutgen is one of the generations of artists born between 1930 and 1950, the best of whom were at the origin of a real break in the practice of art in the country; op art, happening, land art, were then unknown there. These new orientations were associated with social and political commitment, in a context where a great deal of initiative and courage was needed.

Like such of her contemporaries, Berthe Lutgen then began a long trajectory without the slightest concession. For her, founder in 1971 of the MLF in Luxembourg, art has always been linked to her feminism, to denounce injustices and fight against violence against women.

Thus, the jury identified in Berthe Lutgen and wanted to recognise the right way of combining artistic excellence and civic struggle, a work where on the one hand he imposed a dexterously colorist painter, on the other a draughtswoman, a rare efficiency.

Finally, the jury considers that this first Konschtpräis, beyond the entirely fair choice of the winner, can prove to be beneficial in the perspective of a new, broader, more differentiated look at the history of art in the Grand  Duchy".

The Luxembourg Art Week is held until November 13 at the Glacis in Limpertsberg.