Fondation François Schneider: Contemporary Talents Competition

The François Schneider Foundation aims to discover, support and reveal new talents to the public at large whilst supporting contemporary art based around the theme of water.

Essential to all life and to the development of humanity, water is multi-faceted and yet singular. Symbolically, it is one of the four natural elements that make up the universe, alongside air, fire and earth. It lies at the heart of myths and religions, functioning as both sign and symbol, and constantly changing form. Water is certainly a natural resource, but for a large part of the population, it is also the rarest commodity.

Through the “Contemporary Talents” competition he established in 2011, François Schneider provides support to artists by acquiring their works and presenting them at the Foundation’s Contemporary Art Centre via an exhibition and the publication of a catalogue.

Each year, over 1,000 artists from around a hundred different countries submit applications. After around forty finalists have been selected by four Expert Committees, the International Grand Jury, chaired by Jean-Noël Jeanneney, choses a maximum of seven prize-winners.

The annual budget amounts to 300,000 euros. Each prize-winner receives 20,000 euros for the acquisition of their work. A sum of 160,000 euros is also set aside for the creation of works submitted in project form, as support for their production.
The “Contemporary Talents” competition leads to a collective exhibition at the Foundation’s Contemporary Art Centre and a bilingual publication presenting the work of the prize-winners.

To date, 47 artists have been selected.

  • To encourage artists to engage with the theme of water, which has played a part in the history of art since time immemorial.
  • To encourage them to reflect upon, observe, analyse, criticise and make use of water in their creative work, exploring its properties, its symbols, its tools and its issues.
  • To offer the artists a platform to reach all sections of the public.
  • To encourage dialogue and networking with the cultural community.
  • To develop the public’s awareness of contemporary art, particularly young people, and enable them, through the water theme, to experience and more easily perceive its diversity of perspectives.

Terms of the competition

The competition is open to candidates of any nationality and any age, working in the following disciplines of the plastic and visual arts: painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, photography, video or any other form of plastic or visual art. For installations and sculptures, the artists may submit either existing works or projects. For the other disciplines, only existing works may be presented.
Each candidate may only submit one work or one project.

The call for applications for the 9th edition of the competition will take place from September 2 to November 2, 2019.

To find out more information and apply, visit:


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