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  • 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

This Competition is open to major visual artists, of all nationalities, at the mid-point of their career, the eligible disciplines are the following: painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, photography, video or any other form of plastic or visual art.
For installations and sculptures, artists have the possibility to present either an existing work or a project. For a project, a production budget must be attached.
For other art forms, only an existing work can be presented. No additional production budget can be allocated for paintings, drawings, photographs or videos. The work presented must be unique (for video or photography if the work includes editions, the allocation is different, see rules). Films, live shows and performances will not be accepted.

From this 10th edition onwards, 4 winning artists will be rewarded annually for their project or work. Two works or projects from the fields of sculpture or installation will be rewarded as well as two (existing) works from the rest of the visual arts (painting, drawing, photography, video).

The call for applications for the 10th edition of the competition will take place from September 21 to November 20, 2020.


  • Proof of a professional artistic activity and/or being a graduate of an art school. 
  • Have a solid artistic background : work recently exhibited in institutions, galleries, festivals, etc. or have participated in an artistic residency.


A maximum of 4 “Contemporary Talents” prize-winners will be chosen from amongst the candidates, each of whom will receive €15,000 for the acquisition of their work. The endowment also includes:

    • A collective exhibition at the Foundation’s Contemporary Art Centre
    • A bilingual publication presenting the prize-winners’ work
    • The inclusion of the work in the Foundation’s collection
    • A video portrait of each of the laureates.
     A maximum of €100,000 is made available for the completion of the works presented in project form, divided between the different projects according to the artists’ needs and the jury’s decisions. Applications presented in project form must include a detailed budget of the production costs with an estimate quotation.

Selection of works and projects

Artists are invited to submit proposals offering a distinctive and sensitive perspective on the theme of water, whether realistic or utopian, figurative or abstract.

Selection of works and projects

Artists are invited to submit proposals offering a distinctive and sensitive perspective on the theme of water, whether realistic or utopian, figurative or abstract.

Five Expert Committees and an International Grand Jury International will meet in succession:

The expert committees
Each committee is made up of two art and culture professionals. Their mission is to identify around thirty submissions out of all the works or projects received to be presented to the International Grand Jury.

The international grand jury
The jury, chaired by Jean-Noël Jeanneney, will choose the 4 “Contemporary Talents” prize-winners whose works will be acquired by the Foundation.


Applications must be written in French by French-speaking candidates, or in English by other candidates.

These files must include:

Administrative part

  • Registration form and signed regulations read and approved (PDF format)
  • Copy of your identity document (front / back identity card or passport) (PDF format)

Artistic part (work carried out or project to be produced, sculpture or installation)

  • Your curriculum vitae and / or presentation of the collective of artists, justifying an artistic background (work recently exhibited in institutions, galleries, festivals, etc. or having participated in one or more artistic residencies) (PDF format, 2 pages maximum).
  • Your portfolio / artistic presentation of your work (PDF format, 10 A4 pages maximum, 10 MB maximum)
  • A letter of intent presenting the work or project and the artist’s approach for the competition, intellectual and creative approach (PDF format, 2 pages maximum).
  • A precise technical description of the existing work or project (sculptures, installations), title, materials, technique, dimensions, weight, constraints and technical means required for the exhibition, assembly or transport of the work (PDF format, 1 page maximum).
  • A detailed production budget of up to € 80,000 for works presented in the form of projects for sculptures and installations (PDF format).
  • 1 to 5 color visuals (photo, drawing, diagram, modeling, plan, etc.) (JPG format, 5 MB maximum per visual).
  • Video extract for the video works. It is possible to attach a video capture for the other works (painting, sculpture, etc.) in order to contextualize it (format MOV/MP4, 500 Mo maximum).

IMPORTANT: The works presented must not under any circumstances be conceived with a view to being permanently installed at the Foundation.

Download the call for applications.
Download the regulations.

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 thirty finalists have been selected by five Expert Committees, the International Grand Jury, chaired by Jean-Noël Jeanneney, choses a maximum of four prize-winners.

The annual budget amounts to 160,000 euros. Each prize-winner receives 15,000 euros for the acquisition of their work. A sum of 100,000 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, 57 artists have been selected.

For more information please open this link

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