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The Anne van Biema Fellowship

The Anne van Biema Fellowship was established by bequest to promote excellence in research and publication on the Japanese visual arts. Fellowships support research at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. The Galleries provide magnificent opportunities for collections-based study, and hold world-class library and archival collections related to Japanese visual arts. Research proposals are evaluated in terms of merit, originality, methodology, and potential for significant publication that will advance scholarly and public understanding of the Japanese visual arts. Interdisciplinary proposals with a primary focus on Japanese visual arts are considered.

Awards are made to scholars at the post-doctoral or senior levels for periods of two to nine months, and are not renewable. The maximum stipend of $35,000 for nine months will be prorated for shorter terms. The fellowship includes round-trip travel at US government rates from the fellow's residence to Washington, DC. Additional support not to exceed $2,500 may be provided for approved research and travel expenses. Research space, a networked computer, and access to art collections, archives, and Smithsonian Institution libraries are provided.

The Anne van Biema Fellowship is intended to provide an environment conducive to research, writing, and collegial discourse. Fellows are expected to devote themselves full-time to the proposed project, to participate in the scholarly community and programs of the museums, and to present a research-in-progress seminar during the period of the appointment.

Scholars of all nationalities are welcome to apply. Meeting requirements for and obtaining required visas for residence and research in the United States is the responsibility of the applicant. Upon request, the museums will supply documentation of the award of the fellowship, dates of appointment, and financial support.

Application Deadlines

The application deadline is December 15. Notification of awards is sent on February 15. Appointments begin between April 1 and December 1 of the same calendar year.

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted in English and must include:
  • Application cover sheet (PDF, 40kb)
  • Curriculum vitae with contact information and complete list of publications
  • Research proposal consisting of a précis (250 words) and a narrative (maximum length 2000 words). The proposal should address previous relevant research and published results, the significance of the current project to the field of Japanese art history or related disciplines, methodology, and projected schedule of research and writing.
  • Budget for projected research expenses, not to exceed $2,500 for the full nine month period.
  • Two letters of recommendation (original versions) in sealed envelopes signed across the flap. Reviewers should comment on the merits of the proposal and the feasibility of the research plan, as well as the candidate's past publication record and potential for original contribution to the field of Japanese art history. Letters of recommendation may be included with the application or sent directly from the reviewers, either in hard copy or via email. (Hard copies of recommendation letters should be in sealed envelopes signed across the flap.) In either case, it is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that letters of recommendation arrive by the December 15 deadline.

Submit complete applications by e-mail to avbfellowship@si.edu, or by mail to:

Mail Address

(please note that mail delivery to the Smithsonian is very slow)
Anne van Biema Fellowship
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Smithsonian Institution
MRC 707, P.O. Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012

Address for Express Delivery Services

Anne van Biema Fellowship
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Smithsonian Institution
1050 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20560
TEL 202.633.4880

Contact information

Please direct questions to avbfellowship@si.edu.

Top: Tea-leaf storage jar (chatsubo), named Chigusa. Southern Song or Yuan dynasty, mid 13th-mid 14th century; Stoneware with iron glaze; H x Diam (a-vessel): 41.6 x 36.6 cm (16 3/8 x 14 7/16 in); Origin: Probably Guangdong or Fujian province, China; Provenance: Japan; Purchase.

Below: Detail, Trees, one of a pair with F1962.31. 17th century; Master of I-nen Seal 1600-1630); Early Edo period; Ink, color and gold on paper; H: 154.0 W: 357.8 cm; Japan; Purchase F1962.30.

At left: The Buddha at Birth. 7th century; Asuka period; Gilt bronze; H: 11.7 W: 5.2 cm; Japan; Gift of Sylvan Barnet and William Burto in honor of Yanagi Takashi F2005.9a-b.