Patrick J.and Carol Fleming
Each year, the Western European Architecture Foundation awards the Gabriel Prize-a $20,000 grant for the study of classical architecture and landscape in France. Prize winners embark on a three-month itinerary of their own devising. While abroad, Gabriel laureates focus on some particular aspect of French architecture: for one recent laureate that meant the monastic cloisters of provincial France; for another, the arcades of Paris. Whatever their individual program, prize-winners work closely with the Foundation’s European representative, a Parisian architect who is available for regular criticism and discussion. This provides one constant in the laureates’ time abroad. Drawing provides another. Prize winners spend much of their sabbatical sketching, measuring, and, in the course of three months, producing three large renderings. In the process, each laureate comes to know some of the masterpieces of France.
The selection process includes three phases, with candidates registering their interest through the submission of pertinent illustrations of personal work and an outline of the studies contemplated. A first jury is empowered to select from such submissions three candidates who are then invited to meet a second jury assembled with the task of naming the final winner and a runner up. The winner is requested to begin studies in France by May 1st, keep a traveling sketchbook, and prepare three large colored drawings within a period of three months under the supervision of the European representative.
Jurors are chosen for their experience as teachers, as artists, and for their knowledge of study abroad. They are architects, landscape architects, painters, professors, and past Gabriel Prize laureates. The goal is to maintain a variety of viewpoints and experiences among the jurors.
In nearly every sense, the Gabriel program reflects the vision of its extraordinary founder, George Parker, Jr. George was an American patriot, a Texan, and a Francophile. He believed passionately in the humanizing power of classical architecture and strove to find some way to bring its spirit back to our own country. The Foundation and the Gabriel Prize are the fruits of that effort. Each has celebrated their twenty-fifth anniversary.
The Foundation is indebted to the Gabriel Prize winners who have been, after all, the program’s raison-d’etre. Each has been willing to set aside their lives for three months of hard work and study. The drawings they produce are a reflection of their efforts and their very considerable talents. To them, the Foundation offers its deepest thanks and admiration.
George’s death in 1998 left a void, but with his generous endowment, the Foundation will continue to fulfill his goals. We encourage you to review the work done by our winners and consider making an application for yourself or referring someone you may know.
Patrick J. Fleming, President
Carol Fleming, Vice President
Western European Architecture Foundation