Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Susanne du Toit wins £30,000 BP Portrait Award 2013

Susanne du Toit's portrait of her 35 year old son Pieter has won the £30,000 BP Portrait Award 2013.  As indicated in my previous post, BP Portrait Award 2013 - The Shortlist, the two top prizes both went to parents painting portraits of their children.  This year's prize money awarded by sponsor BP totals £53,000.  Below I've highlighted each of the prizewinners in turn.

Susanne de Toit - Winner of the BP Portrait Award 2013
(left to right:
Bob Dudley, CEO of BP, Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery,
Susanne du Toit and guest presenter Joanna Trollope holding her Award)
all photos copyright Katherine Tyrrell

The BP Portrait Award 2013 - First Prize


Winner of the BP portrait Prize 2013
Pieter by Susanne de Toit
(1080 x 830mm, oil on canvas)
© Susanne de Toit
Photo © Katherine Tyrrell
The first prize is a cash award of £30,000, plus, at the judges’ discretion, a commission worth £5,000, to be agreed between the National Portrait Gallery and the artist.

It's great to see a woman win the prize for the second year in succession in a competition which has traditionally been dominated by male winners.

Susanne du Toit (b. 1955) is South African born but now lives in Crowthorne in Berkshire.

Her portrait of her eldest son Pieter, aged 35 is part of a series of portraits of her family.  In her experience the artist has found that the hands are essential to communicating the personality of the subject and her one condition of his pose was that his hands needed to be prominent.
The averted gaze of this portrait, which was his choice, struck me as characteristic of his reflective character and became intensely engaging

The BP Portrait Award 2013 - Second Prize


The Uncertain Time by John Devane
(1720 x 2490mm, oil on canvas)
© John Devane
Photo © Katherine Tyrrell

The Runner Up Prize of £10,000 went to John Devane (b. 1954) for his large group portrait of his three children Lucy age 25, Laura age 20 and Louis age 15.  This is the second time his work has been selected for the Exhibition associated with the Award.  In the House of the cellist was selected for the 1995 Exhibition

This Coventry based artist and teacher at Coventry University painted the portrait of his children over three years.  The intention of the portrait is that it shows his children emerging from their childhood and beginning to assert their independent and something of their adult selves.
The composition suggests an almost stage-like shallow space constructed in two zones with the three figures placed as if they were awaiting some kind of event.
Key points of reference for his work are Courbet, Chardin, Degas, Balthus and Samuel Beckett.  John Devane has lectured extensively at various universities since 1980 in Fine Art at BA and MA level. He's held his present position of Head of Department of Design and Visual Arts since 2004. He's also active at a national level in the National Association for Fine Art Education (NAFAE).

John Devane - 2nd Prize, BP Portrait Award 2013
(with L to R Bob Dudley, CEO of BP, Sandy Nairne,
Director of the National Portrait Gallery and Joanna Trollope, author)
This year for the first time the shortlisting stage did not announce which artists were contenders for the Young Artist Award or the BP Travel Award.  Interestingly both artists had submitted small paintings.

The BP Young Artist Award

Owen Normand presented with the Young Artist of the Year Award


Winner of the Young Artist of the Year

Das Berliner Zimmer by Owen Normand

(The Berlin Room)
© Owen Normand
Photo © Katherine Tyrrell
The Young Artist Award of £7,000 went to Owen Normand (b. 1984) for his painting Das Berliner Zimmer (The Berlin Room).

Owen Normand comes from the North of Scotland but has been working as a painter and illustrator in Berlin since 2010 where his main focus is on portraiture. The portrait is of Owen's girlfriend Hannah painted in her bedroom in Berlin.  Apparently the Berliner Zimmer is unique to Berlin - it's the name for a long, dark, room facing into an inner courtyard with just a single window at the far end.

His portrait of Hannah was inspired by her connections to the city, particularly those of her grandmother who moved there in the 1930s and who still lives there today.

He studied at Leith School of Art (2003–04) and Edinburgh College of Art (2004–08).

The BP Travel Award 2013

All selected artists are invited to apply for the BP Travel Award which will be displayed as part of the BP Portrait Award 2014 exhibition.

Winner of the BP Travel Award 2013
Sophie Ploeg
(with L to R Bob Dudley, CEO of BP, 
Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, 
Joanna Trollope, author)
The BP Travel Award (£6,000) has been won by a painter well known to me and to this blog - Sophie Ploeg (Sophie Ploeg).  

We will of course be seeing more of Sophie who will be back next year with her exhibition of work arising out of the Award.  Last night I introduced Sophie to Carl Randall who won the Award last year.

There will be a blog post about her proposal and travel plans later this week - we're having lunch together tomorrow!

Plus a blog about Carl's superb exhibition relating to his travels in Japan over the last year.

The Judges


The judges this year saw all the original paintings entered and were:
The BP Travel Award was judged by Sarah Howgate, Contemporary Curator, National Portrait Gallery, Liz Rideal, Art Resource Developer, National Portrait Gallery, and Des Violaris, Director, UK Arts and Culture, BP.

Sandy Nairne, Director of the NPG commented
The standard of the BP Portrait Award 2013 is as high as ever, and congratulations got to all artists, but especially to Suzanne de Toit for her simple and outstanding portrait of her son.
This is the 24th year of BP support for the award and BP CEO Bob Dudley made an eloquent speech highlighting BP's commitment to the arts across the UK over the years.

Tour: The exhibition will tour to:
  • Aberdeen Art Gallery (from 2 November 2013 until 1 February 2014) and 
  • Wolverhampton Art Gallery (from 3 March until 14 June 2014.)
Publication: A fully-illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition and features an introductory essay by Joanna Trollope. The BP Portrait Award 2013 book will be published on 20 June 2013, and will include over 60 colour illustrations, price £9.99 (paperback).

More posts about the BP Portrait Award 2013

I'll be blogging about the BP Portrait Award all this week.  There will be:
  • a review of the exhibition - which hopefully will include a video
  • a post about the BP Travel Award 2012 Exhibition by Carl Randall - which is fabulous!
  • an interview with Sophie Ploeg about her plans for her Travel Award
  • a list of the artists selected for the exhibition - together with statistics about the exhibition
Below you can find previous posts about the BP Portrait Award on this blog.

2013 Competition

BP Portrait Award - Shortlisted artists on Making A Mark (2008 - 2012)


BP Portrait Award 2012


BP Portrait Award 2011


BP Portrait Award 2010


BP Portrait Award 2009


BP Portrait Award 2008


BP Portrait Award 2007


NOTE: Portraiture - Resources for Artists - contains links to all the Portrait Award exhibitions which are still online and past winners plus links to various other portrait competitions.

See Major UK Art Competitions in 2013 for a summary of details about other major art competitions in the UK

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