University of Pittsburgh
May 17, 2010

Pitt Art Historian Honored for His Book on the National Mall and the Transformation of Memorial Spaces


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-The Smithsonian American Art Museum has awarded the 2010 Charles C. Eldredge Prize to Kirk Savage, a professor and chair in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh, for his book "Monument Wars: Washington D.C., the National Mall, and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape" (University of California Press, 2009).

The $3,000 annual prize, given in honor of a former director of the museum, recognizes original and comprehensive research and excellence in writing in the field of American art history.

In "Monument Wars," the jurors said, Savage recounts the creation and re-creation of the memorial landscape of Washington, D.C., "where generations of designers, engineers, and artists have given concrete form to the imagined community of the nation."

Elizabeth Broun, the Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the art museum, calls Savage's book "compelling" and says it contributes an important perspective to the ongoing discussion of the role of the National Mall.

"Anchored by accounts of the creation, reception, and subsequent history of three very different monuments-the assertive Washington monument, the classicizing Lincoln Memorial, and the minimalist Vietnam Veterans memorial, as well as the abstract greensward they punctuate and define, Savage's discussion is wide ranging and deeply nuanced," the jurors wrote. More information on the book can be found at

Savage began writing about public monuments and public space as a freelancer in the 1980s. He went on to earn master's and PhD degrees in art history at University of California, Berkeley. His book "Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth-Century America" (Princeton University Press, 1997) won the John Hope Franklin Prize for best book published in American studies in 1998.