Wednesday, April 28, 2010

BP Portrait Award 2010 - Shortlist announced

The National Portrait Gallery has announced a record number of entries for the 2010 BP Portrait Award which has enormous international prestige as well as a £25,000 first prize.

The Portrait Award aims to encourage artists to focus upon, and develop, the theme of painted portraiture within their work - and has been doing so very successfully for the last 31 years.

This year 58 portraits have been selected from the 2,177 entries in this 31st year of the award. International artists aged 18 and over submitted their work for a major exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery which runs from 24 June until 19 September 2010.

There were 276 more entries than last year making this a record year for entries.

The Annual Exhibition for the BP Portrait Award is one of the Top 10 Art Exhibitions in the UK and has helped the National Portrait Gallery to rank as the 17th most popular art museum in the world in 2oo9

The 2010 BP Portrait Award Shortlist

The three artists shortlisted for the 2010 award are:
Below you can find the bios and narratives about the artists supplied by the National Portrait Gallery.

The birthdates after their name are relevant to the BP Young Artist Award of £4,000 for the work of an entrant aged between 18 and 30. None are eligible - which means it's going to be one of the other 55!

It's great to see a really excellent portrait of somebody of African heritage. I've got a high res image of this and this painting in egg tempera is meticulous and very fine.

The portrait of Daphne Todd's mother is shocking at one level and yet there is a long tradition of creating images of people on their death beds and this one carries huge emotional intensity.

It's difficult to call at the moment, without seeing the portraits in person, but my guess is that the award will go to either Michael Gaskell who placed second last year and has been shortlisted prior to this or Daphne Todd, former first female President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters.

David Eichenberg (21.03.72) for Tim II.

Tim II 2009 by David Eichenberg
Oil on Panel
13.25" x 12.75"(without frame)
21.25" x 20.75" (with frame)

Copyright: © David Eichenberg
David Eichenberg studied art at the University of Toledo in his home town. While he has exhibited throughout the United States, this is his first BP exhibited work. His portrait shows his friend, the sculptor Timothy A. Stover, seated at a metal bandsaw in the fabrication shop in which he works, located directly below the artist's studio in an old warehouse in Toledo, Ohio. The artist wanted the painting to read like a work by Holbein, where every item in the portrait represents an aspect of the sitter such as the highlighted shape on the wall representing a map of Ohio, where Tim was born and living at the time of the sitting.
Michael Gaskell (18.08. 63) for Harry

Harry by Michael Gaskell
egg tempera
Copyright: © Michael Gaskell
Gaskell, who has exhibited throughout Britain and was second prize winner at last year's BP Portrait Award is an artist from Sheffield, recently relocated to Leicester, who only got to know his sitter, Harry, when he agreed to sit for him. Having seen the sitter whilst he was out shopping with his family, Michael was persuaded to approach him by his wife. In the resulting portrait which was completed in a short burst of intense work over the winter of 2009-10, Gaskell tried to evoke a sense of what had drawn him to Harry, but he hopes that the image is also informed by what he gained from hearing about the sitter's experiences and aspirations.
Daphne Todd (27.03. 47) for Last portrait of Mother.

Last portrait of mother by Daphne Todd
Copyright: © Daphne Todd
Daphne Todd, from East Sussex, has been selected for the BP Portrait Award exhibition for the third time. This is her first BP shortlisted portrait (though she won 2nd prize in the Gallery's Portrait Award in 1984.) She attended the Slade School of Fine Art and was the first woman president of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. She has chosen to portray her mother Annie Mary Todd on her death bed and thereby to create a devotional study. Daphne says her mother, who had just celebrated her 100th birthday having lived with the artist for her last 14 years, had given permission for her daughter to paint her.
Judges and Prizes

This year's panel of judges made the selection from the original paintings submitted for the competition. The judges were:
  • Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London (Chair)
  • Sir David Scholey CBE, Senior Adviser, UBS Investment Bank and former Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery, London
  • Ishbel Myerscough, artist and 1995 First Prize winner of the BP Portrait Award
  • Christine Rew, Art Gallery & Museums Manager, Education, Culture & Sport, Aberdeen City Council
  • Sarah Howgate, Contemporary Curator, National Portrait Gallery, London
  • Des Violaris, Director, UK Arts and Culture, BP
In addition to a prize of £25,000, the winner of the BP Portrait Award will receive a commission worth £4,000. The second prize will be £8,000 and third £6,000. For the fourth year there will be a BP Young Artist Award of £4,000 for the work of an entrant aged between 18 and 30. The award and the winners of the prizes will be announced on the evening of Tuesday 22 June.

  • Wolfson Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE Admission free From 24 June until 19 September 2010
  • In 2010-11 the exhibition will tour to Usher Gallery, Lincoln, and Aberdeen Art Gallery.


  1. WOW- I really love Daphane Todds piece-That is a KNOCKOUT PIECE! Hope she wins-no sentiments! Thanks for posting-I can't come here without being inspired!

  2. I have to agree with Adebanji - what an extraordinary image!

  3. Quite a lot of artists painted their mothers, I guess the most famous is Whistler's"Arrangement in Grey and Black : Portrait of the Painter's Mother"

    I didn't know there was a long tradition of painting people on their death beds, which famous artists painted their dying mother or father?

    No one wants chocolate-box images but the other end of the spectrum has no appeal for me.

  4. It's not always a dying mother or father.

    Probably the most famous example is Monet who painted his first wife Camille on her death bed.

    However I do agree death bed paintings aren't ones you see very often in galleries.

  5. There is a beautiful drawing of George Braque on his deathbed (actually I think he was already dead) by Giacometti. It's an incredibly sensitive drawing which conveys a sense of respect and loss.

  6. Thank you for the reply. Monet's painting of his wife was strange but not depressing. I felt the artist was trying to say something more than just the fact.

    I'm trying to find George Braque on his deathbed, google seems to come up with the Marcel Proust.

    Those words are exactly what I was straining for the other day ('respect' and 'loss') when I was trying to find what was somehow lacking.


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