Photo: Phil Penman Photography

Art Spiegelman, Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novelist, is the first cartoonist to receive the Edward MacDowell Medal.

The Edward MacDowell Medal, awarded annually since 1960, honors an individual who made an outstanding contribution to American culture. Spiegelman joins a roster of past recipients including Leonard Bernstein, Georgia O’Keeffee, and Toni Morrison.

Spiegelman’s comics are best known for their graphic style, complexity, and controversial content. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for his graphic novel Maus, which is based on his father’s World War II experience and portrayed Jews as mice and Nazis as cats.

In 1980, Spiegelman founded avant-garde comics magazine RAW with his wife Françoise Mouly. He taught at the School for Visual Arts in New York, was a staff artist and writer for The New Yorker, and is a bestselling author.