behind the founding of NAAP's
gradiva and vision awards

The awards were inspired by Freud's essay "Delusions and Dreams in Jensen's Gradiva" (1907(1905)), in which he stated, "Creative writers are valuable allies and their evidence is to be prized highly, for they are apt to know a whole host of things between heaven and earth of which our philosophy has not yet let us dream ... they draw upon sources which we have not yet opened up for science."

Recalling Freud's words, NAAP established the Gradiva® Awards to honor our "valuable allies," including poets, artists, producers, directors, publishers, etc., who have created works that advance psychoanalysis.

Each Gradiva® Award winner receives a handsome brass plaque etched with the image of Gradiva, which is based on a Pompeian relief similar to one that hung in Freud's office.


An additional award, plus a $500 scholarship, is given for the best student work that advances psychoanalysis.

The awards are presented during a ceremony at NAAP's Annual Conference held each fall in New York City.

Interested in submitting your work for a Gradiva Award? CLICK HERE!



NAAP's Gradiva® Award

In 1994, Robert Quackenbush proposed these awards for the best published, produced, or publicly exhibited works that advance psychoanalysis. The entry deadline was December 31 that same year. The winners of the first Gradiva® Awards were announced at a NAAP conference the following spring and included a revival of Moss Hart's play "Lady in the Dark," with Kitty Carlisle Hart accepting an award in behalf of her late husband, and Judith E. Daykin accepting an award as Executive Director for the play produced by Encores!

The symbol for the Awards (now a registered trademark for NAAP) was designed and rendered in woodcut by Quackenbush, which in turn was etched on brass plates and mounted on wood for the final awards. Quackenbush based his rendering on a wall plaque that hung in Freud's office -- a plaster copy of an ancient Roman, marble bas-relief that is displayed in the Vatican Museum.

The sculpture represents a young woman, attired in clothing of the period, stepping along in a charming gait. The image of the young woman inspired a short novel by Wilhelm Jensen titled Gradiva,  which first appeared in bookstores in 1903. The novel is a version of the Pygmalian story in which a young man falls in love with the image of the girl on the bas-relief and gives her the name Gradiva. He dreams that she lived in Pompeii during the eruption of Vesuvius and he wants to save her. Soon afterwards, while exploring ruins in Italy, he sees in real life the Gradiva of his dreams walking among the columns.

"I could identify with Freud's words," says Quackenbush. "I know about the power of being in touch with my unconscious as a professional artist and a writer in addition to my psychoanalytic practice. That was my motivation for wanting to establish the Gradiva® Awards at NAAP to call forth recognition and appreciation of artists, writers, musicians, poets, filmmakers, and publishers who have made significant contributions to the psychoanalytic community."

While fear may remain in the minds of those who shun psychoanalysis for what they think might kill their art, the Gradiva® Awards confirm that exploration of the unconscious may do just the opposite, making psychoanalysis a fertile ground for ideas and new works. And it is perhaps the greatest testament to this promise and challenge that the creator of the Awards, Robert Quackenbush, has authored and illustrated over 200 books for children and has written numerous articles for psychoanalytic journals and trade publications about childhood behavior and children's education.

For his establishment of the Gradiva®Awards, Robert Quackenbush received the 2004 Vision Award from NAAP. Robert Quackenbush, artist, writer, psychoanalyst, and teacher is dedicated to advancing America's fight against illiteracy. He is frequently invited to visit schools and libraries to instill in children a love of reading. His travels have taken him all across the US, including Alaska, and to South America and the Middle East.


NAAP's Vision Award

NAAP's VISION AWARD was conceived as a special award to be presented to a psychoanalyst or psychoanalysts who the Awards Committee and the NAAP Board of Trustees feel have made an outstanding contribution to psychoanalysis and its impact on the life of individuals and the community.

This unusual award is an original piece of fine art crafted by sculptor and NAAP member Robert Wolf. It is a contemporary representation of psychoanalysis and the holding space that makes healing possible.

This beautiful sculpture has become NAAP's "Oscar," our symbol for the contribution that psychoanalysis has made to the world. In past years the award has been given for contributions to Psychoanalysis and Art, Religion and Spirituality, Psychoanalytic Theory, Psychoanalysis and the Treatment of the Narcissistic Disorders, the creation of a Masters Program in Psychoanalysis, the creation of a license in Psychoanalysis, the Grafting of the Vision Award, and to psychoanalysts who defended psychoanalysis in New Jersey from legislative threat.