- Girl in a Liberty Dress by Clara Drummond - a portrait of her friend and a fellow artist
- Hugo by Benjamin Sullivan - a portrait of the poet Hugo Williams;
- Silence by Chinese artist Bo Wang - a portrait of his dying Grandmother.
They're brilliant portraits - I love them all! I've also got the big high res images of them and after close inspection I'd find it very difficult to choose between them. However if you read on, you will realise that past experience suggests one is a clear front -runner......
The portraits and artists are highlighted below
In terms of the competition as a whole:
- The Entry: The shortlist of three was selected from 2,557 portraits by artists from 80 countries (the entry is limited to one portrait per artist).
- Selected Artists: More about who got selected for the exhibition tomorrow when I will link websites to the names of the artists whose portraits have been selected to be in the exhibition
- The Best of the Rest: the closing date for my invitation to the "best of the rest" - of those not selected - is Friday.
The BP Portrait Award is said to be the world’s most prestigious portrait painting competition - with total prize money of £60,000.
Just being selected, never mind shortlisted or winning a prize is a great honour.
The prizes are as follows:
- First Prize: £30,000 plus a commission worth £5,000 to paint a portrait for the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection, to be agreed between the Gallery and the artist.
- Second Prize: £10,000
- Third Prize: £8,000.
- The BP Young Artist Award of £7,000 will be awarded to the work of an entrant aged between 18 and 30.
Girl in a Liberty Dress by Clara Drummond
Clara Drummond is shortlisted for the first time.
Girl in a Liberty Dress
oil on board, 260 x 370 mm (10.2 x 14.5 inches)
copyright Clara Drummond
The oil in this portrait is applied very thinly and sensitively almost in the style of a watercolour painting. - a technique which we sadly see far too little of. It reminds me very much of the way in which Jennifer McRae (a former BP prizewinner) works - it's all about the composition, tone and the draughtsmanship. There are also echoes in the pose of Jane Morris who inspired any number of portraits.
- Age: 38 years old (b. 27 September 1977)
- Nationality: British
- Occupation: artist
- Current home: Cambridgeshire (born in Edinburgh, Scotland)
- Art education: Prince’s Drawing School. (She studied studied modern languages at Cambridge University)
- Previous appearances in this award: previously selected five times for the BP Portrait Award Exhibition (2006, 2009, 2013 and 2014)
- Previous notable portraits for this award: Iris Palmer for BP Portrait Award 2009, and her friend, actor Ben Whishaw (2005 exhibition).
- Website: http://www.claradrummond.co.uk/
- Title / Media: Girl in a Liberty Dress (260 x 370 mm, oil on board)
- Subject: Friend/artist Kirsty Buchanan (also painted for her exhibited works in the BP Portrait Award in 2013 and 2014)
The model Kirsty is a friend and fellow artist - and the subject of two previous works which have been selected for the BP Portrait Exhibition. On this occasion, both artists were working with the William Morris Society archive on an exhibition at the time and were looking at the hand drawn patterns for fabrics, wallpapers and tapestries by Jane Morris and May Morris, William Morris's wife and daughter. Hence the Liberty Print dress seemed appropriate for the context of the time.
Drummond says of Kirsty that
she is inspiring because she is always immersed in the ideas around whatever she is making at the time, history, nature, mythology and art all feed into her work, so when I am drawing or painting her it feels more like a collaboration than a portrait sitting.'
Hugo by Benjamin Sullivan
Benjamin Sullivan is shortlisted for the first time.
Note this is the ONLY one of the three paintings which demonstrates torso, head and hands - and I refer people back to last year's analysis of the paintings selected and my observation
oil on canvas, 460 x 360 mm (18.1 x 14.1 inches)
copyright Benjamin Sullivan
If he doesn't win this time, I'm very confident that he will win this Award at some point in the future. In my view he deserves to.
- Age: 38 years old (b. 10th May 1977)
- Nationality: British
- Occupation: Professional artist
- Current home: Suffolk, England (born in Grimsby)
- Art education: BA (Hons) in Drawing and Painting from Edinburgh College of Art (graduated 2000)
- Previous Prizes: In 2007 he won the Lynn Painter Stainers Prize
- Other Distinctions: elected a member of the New English Art Club (2001) and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters (2003) - and was the youngest ever painter to be elected to both at the time
- Previous appearances in this award: previously selected 12 times for the BP Portrait Award Exhibition (2002 and 2006-2015)
- Website: http://www.benjaminsullivan.co.uk
- Title: Hugo (460 x 360 mm, oil on canvas)
- Subject: Hugo Williams - painted in the study of the poet’s Islington home
The artist had been an admirer of Williams’s poetry, especially his Billy’s Rain collection, and after being introduced to him at a private view in 2014 by a friend, the poet Stephen Romer, Williams agreed to sit for a portrait. Sittings were ‘accompanied by, very loud, Elvis and early Cajun music’.
Besides very regular appearances in the BP Portrait Award exhibition, Sullivan's portrait drawings and paintings are seen regularly in the exhibitions of the New English Art Club and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters.
Notably he has also been the artist-in-residence at All Soul’s College, Oxford, and the Reform Club, Pall Mall.
Sullivan’s portrait of the cosmologist and astrophysicist Professor Martin Rees was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery. I'm very confident that he will also be commissioned by the NPG to paint portraits of notable British individuals for years to come....
Silence by Bo Wang
Bo Wang is notable in that this is the first time he has been selected and he is only the second artist from China ever to be shortlisted for the First Prize.
tempera on board, 1000 x 1160 mm (39.3 x 45.6 inches)
copyright Bo Wang
- Age: (b. 3rd December 1981)
- Nationality: Chinese
- Occupation: a lecturer at Suzhou University of Science and Technology in Jiangsu
- Current home: China
- Art education: He studied at the Ilia Repin St Petersburg Academic Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture
- Previous appearances in this award: None
- Website: None (if you know different please let me know)
- Title/Media: Silence (100 x 116 mm, tempera on board)
- Subject: his grandmother lying on the hospital bed a month before she died, while she was in the terminal stages of cancer and losing her ability to speak.
‘Sometimes she tilted her head and looked at me. There was too much emotion in her eyes to be expressed in words. I almost forgot about painting techniques or any specific style, just trying to use my brushes to communicate silently with my grandma. I can strongly feel the state of a dying life when I think of her eyes’.Bo Wang says the work of Paul Gauguin is always in his mind when thinking of this portrait especially the artist’s enigmatically titled masterpiece – Where are we from? Who are we? Where shall we go?
He has exhibited at the National Art Museum of China, in Xinjiang, and the Xinjiang International Exhibition Centre.
JudgesThe competition was judged from original paintings by:
- Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery (Chair)
- Christopher Baker, Director, Scottish National Portrait Gallery
- Alan Hollinghurst, Writer
- Sarah Howgate, Contemporary Curator, National Portrait Gallery
- Jenny Saville, Artist
- Des Violaris, Director, UK Arts & Culture, BP
Exhibition - BP Portrait Award 2016 & BP Travel Award 2015The BP Portrait Award 2015 had 329,556 visitors.
This highly successful annual event aims to encourage artists to focus upon, and develop, the theme of painted portraiture within their work.This year will be the 37th exhibition of The Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery. However the exhibition also tours and you will be able to see the shortlisted artists and the rest of the exhibition as follows:
- National Portrait Gallery:
- 23 Jun – 4 Sep 2016, National Portrait Gallery,
- Admission FREE supported by BP (this is the 27th year of sponsorship by BP)
- UK Tour:
- 12 September – 13 November 2016 - Usher Gallery, Lincoln
- Late November 2016 - late March 2017Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh
- 8/9 April – 11 June 2017 New Walk Museum & Art Gallery , Leicester
More about the BP Portrait AwardAs always here is my archive of past blog posts about the BP Portrait Award going back to 2007. Next year I'll have been doing this for 10 years!
Note these include links to my videos of the exhibition. If you just want the videos then go to the BP Portrait and Travel Awards Playlist on my YouTube Channel
BP Portrait Award 2016
Call for Entries
BP Portrait Award 2015
- BP Portrait Award 2015 entry goes digital
- How to enter the £30,000 BP Portrait Award 2015 - and improve your chances of being selected
- Selected Artists - BP Portrait Award 2015
- Brits lose out in BP Portrait Award 2015 - BP Portrait Award 2015: Analysis of the number of entries and the number of selected artists - between UK and international artists.
- Shortlist: Shortlist for £30,000 BP Portrait Award 2015 announced
- Israeli artist Matan Ben Cnaan wins BP Portrait Prize 2015 - includes names of other prizewinners
- Video Interview with Winner of the BP Portrait Award 2015 - My video interview with Matan Ben Cnaan.
- Michael Gaskell (2nd Prize BP Portrait 2015) - a video interview - the most consistent second prizewinner never to win!
- José Luis Corella wins BP Portrait Award 2015 Visitors' Choice Award
- BP Portrait 2015 - Artists with their paintings Some of the artists in the BP Portrait - with their paintings.
- Video of Exhibition: BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2015 - video and analysis - Video of BP Portrait Award 2015 Exhibition and in-depth analysis of three portrait factors - size, type and number.
BP Portrait Award 2014
- BP Portrait Award 2014 - Call for Entries
- Shortlist announced for BP Portrait Award 2014
- BP Portrait Award: From 2,500+ entries to just three artists
- BP Portrait Award 2014 - Video of presentation to prizewinners
- BP Portrait Award 2014 Exhibition - review and video
- A video interview with Thomas Ganter, Winner of the BP Portrait Award 2014
- Richard Twose and David Jon Kassan - video interviews with BP Portrait Award prizewinners 2014 (2nd and 3rd prizewinners)
- Video - what the artist saw
BP Portrait Award 2013
- BP Portrait Award 2013: Call for Entries
- BP Portrait Award 2013 - The Shortlist
- Susanne du Toit wins £30,000 BP Portrait Award 2013
- BP Portrait Award 2013 - Selected Artists and Statistics
- BP Portrait Exhibition 2013 - Video & Review
- Sophie Ploeg wins BP Travel Award 2013
- Carl Randall's Japan - the best BP Travel Award Exhibition ever!
BP Portrait Award 2012
- Call for Entries: BP Portrait Award 2012
- BP Portrait Award 2012 - 55 Selected Artists
- BP Portrait Award 2012 - The Shortlist
- Aleah Chapin wins £25,000 BP Portrait Award 2012
- A Profile of Aleah Chapin
- Carl Randall wins BP Travel Award 2012
- Review: BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2012 (Part 1) Focuses on a theory about what's important to getting selected.
- BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2012 (Part 2) Part 2 of a review of the BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2012. Focuses on portrait paintings I like.
- Video of BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2012
BP Portrait Award 2011
- CALL FOR ENTRIES: BP Portrait Award 2011
- BP Portrait Award 2011 Shortlist
- BP Portrait Award 2011: links to Selected Artists
- Review: BP Portrait Award Exhibition 2011
- BP Travel Awards: 2010 (Paul Beel) and 2011 (Jo Fraser)
- BP Portrait Award 2011: People's Favourite & Statistics
BP Portrait Award 2010
- Daphne Todd wins BP Portrait Award 2010
- Two American Artists win BP Portrait Prizes
- BP Portrait Award: Michael Gaskell's unparalled record
- BP Portrait Exhibition 2010 opens today (VIDEO)
- BP Portrait Award 2010 - Shortlist announced
- BP Portrait Award 2010: List of Exhibitors and Brian Sewell
BP Portrait Award 2009
- BP Portrait Tour & Portrait of the Nation (24 Sep 2009)
- Sue Rubira makes her mark on bp portrait (18 Jun 2009)
- Exhibition review: BP Portrait Award (18 Jun 2009)
- Peter Monkman wins first prize in BP Portrait Award 2009 (17 Jun 2009)
- BP Portrait Award 2009 - the shortlist (27 May 2009)
- BP Portrait Award - who enters and who gets selected (28 May 2009)
- BP Portrait Award 2009 - Call for Entries (15 Dec 2008)
BP Portrait Award 2008
- Making a Mark: Craig Wylie wins BP Portrait Award 2008
- Making a Mark: BP Portrait Prize 2008 - exhibition opens
BP Portrait Award 2007
- Making a Mark: Paul Emsley wins BP Portrait Award (22 Jun 2007)
- View the BP Portrait Award 2007 and BP Travel Award 2006 exhibitions(15 June 2007)