The Izidor Cankar Award has been bestowed for special achievements, significant contributions, and investigations in the field of Slovene art heritage on professionals, individuals, or groups from Slovenia or abroad since 1999. The award and special mentions are awarded biennially by the Slovene Art History Society on 22 April, the birthday of Izidor Cankar (1886–1958), one of the most important Slovenian art historians of the first part of the 20th century and one of the most influential cultural managers in inter-war Slovenia, acting also as diplomat, publicist, translator, and politician.
An expert commission consisting of five members elected by the Slovene Art History Society selects from a list of candidates who have been proposed. The commission then makes proposals to the Executive Board of the Society, which is responsible for making the final selection. At least one award and at least three special mentions are bestowed.
Alongside many special mentions, the recipients of the award have been the art historians Špelca Čopič (1999), Emilijan Cevc and Nace Šumi (2001), Sergej Vrišer (2003), Janez Höfler (2005), Stane Bernik (2007), Tomaž Brejc and Lojze Gostiša (2009), and Mirko Kambič (2011).