Tuesday, January 14, 2020

LAST CALL - Annual Open Exhibition 2020 of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters

The deadline for the Call for digital entries for the annual exhibition in 2020 of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters is Friday 17 January 2020, 12 noon.

You've got just over 3 days left to complete your entry.

One of the prizewinners in 2019 is on the left

For some reason this Call for Entries escaped my "to do" list created by sitting down and creating draft posts for calls for entries. It must have been the next one after I did the last lot!

This is an OPEN exhibition which any serious portrait painter should think very seriously about entering due to the high quality of the non-members exhibits and the scope to attract commissions for future portraits.
The Royal Society of Portrait Painters seeks submissions of new and traditional artistic models and perspectives in portraiture. The Society welcomes paintings, drawings and original prints.
Below you can find:
  • reasons why you SHOULD enter the exhibition if you are a serious portrait painter
  • a review of the chances of getting exhibited
  • summary details about the exhibition including....
  • details of the prizes - which are one very good reason why this exhibition is worth entering
  • summary of "how to enter"
Corner of the Main Gallery in 2019


Reasons why you should enter the RP's annual exhibition


For those wondering why they should submit an entry to this exhibition, take a look at the following.

Entry is digital

  • You only need to go to the expense of framing and transport if invited to progress to the second stage of selection.

The Importance of Exhibitions to Portrait Commissions

Some significant prizes

A prestigious exhibition and an Online Exhibition

  • This is a very prestigious exhibition. It fills all three galleries at the Mall Galleries on the Mall in London.
  • The exhibition is also put online so it can be seen all over the world. 

Why it compares favourably to the BP Portrait

  • ALL works selected for exhibition from the Open Entry are chosen by practising professional portrait artists who are full members of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. There are no administrators, sponsors, gallerists, art critics or other such √©minence grise who get a say on what gets hung.
  • See my 2016 blog post Comparison of the RSPP Open and BP Portrait Award Competition which analysed the similarities and differences and concluded that more artists should submit to this Open Exhibition. I've no reason to change my opinion.
HOWEVER 
.....while I had felt in previous years that this exhibition has started to improve (see Review: Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters 2017 and Review: Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition - Unstuffed!), the exhibition last year felt rather as if it had returned to a more traditional exhibition - with corporate portraits of too many men in grey suits.
It felt a bit like it had backtracked to previous exhibitions about which I've been a tad critical in the past.
plus the hang was rather odd
"stuffed shirts" next to "Skin" does seem incongruous and makes for a very curious juxtaposition - which can create a feeling of visual confusion.

Your chances of getting exhibited: Exhibition Metrics


Things you need to know - based on the works by non-members hung in the 2019 exhibition

  • 209 paintings, prints and drawings were hung 
  • about half the portraits exhibited are by artists who are non-members i.e.:
    • 50.7% were by members
    • 49.3% were by non members
  • around about 5% of the works submitted by non-members were selected for display in the exhibition 
    • 103 artworks by 88 non-members were selected from over 2,000 entries submitted by non-members
    • 13 of the 88 non-members were invited to exhibit by either RP members of Schools of Art (notably those in Scotland)
  • there's a significant number of overseas artists who exhibit - with more from Asia every year
  • your work needs to be very good to get selected. You are competing with the top portrait painters from around the world who are not members for a place in this exhibition - because of its reputation as a shop front for commissions

2020 Annual OPEN Exhibition


The Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Portrait Artists in 2020:
  • Venue: Mall Galleries - across all three galleries due to its size.
  • Dates: Thursday 7 May - Friday 22 May 2020
  • Hours: 10am - 5pm - except open until 7pm on Tuesday 18th May
  • Website page: https://therp.co.uk/annual-portrait-exhibition/


2020 Prizes



The prizes for 2020 include:
  • The Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture: £10,000 plus the Society’s Gold Medal awarded for the most distinguished portrait in the Society’s annual exhibition
  • The de Laszlo Foundation Award: £3,000 plus a Silver Medal for the most outstanding portrait by an artist aged 35 years or under
  • The RP Award: £2,000 will be awarded to the artist whose work best represents the year's chosen theme - which for 2020 is 'Movement'. The judges will be looking for the most interesting and engaging interpretation of the idea of 'Movement' within the parameters of portraiture.
  • NEW The RP Prize for the Best Small Portrait: A prize of £2,000 for the best small portrait in the exhibition, measuring not more than 38 x 30.5 cm (15 x 12 inches) framed
  • The Prince of Wales's Award for Portrait Drawing: £2,000 and framed certificate for a portrait in any recognised drawing medium
  • The Burke’s Peerage Foundation Award: £2,000 and framed certificate for the most classically inspired portrait in the exhibition
  • The Smallwood Architects Prize: £1,000 for a portrait in which architectural or interior features play an important part

Works hung are large and small


How to Enter


This is an OPEN EXHIBITION. Artists are invited to submit works for exhibition alongside members of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters at their Annual Exhibition 2018.

  • All entries are via digital submission
  • The deadline for entries is 12 noon on Friday 19th January 2018
  • The entry fee is £15 per work payable at the time of submitting (£10 per work for artists aged 35 or under). Details of how artists can apply via the open entry process are set out below.

Who can Submit?

Any artist - over the age of 18 - living anywhere in the world can submit artwork to this exhibition and be exhibited alongside members of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters.


Drawings as well as paintings

What you can submit


  • Media: any medium including original prints (BUT excluding sculpture and photography).
  • Size: MUST NOT be larger than 2.4m along the longest dimension.
  • Number: a maximum of three works (of which a maximum of three will be selected)
  • Age: MUST have been completed in the last three years
  • Dry: Paintings MUST be completely dry at the time of delivery.
  • Exhibitions: Work must NOT have been exhibited previously.
  • For Sale: You can enter work "not for sale" - use NFS to indicate this 
  • Price & VAT:
    • The minimum price is £300 (Use £0 on form for NFS Works).
    • The price of works MUST include commission of (45% + Standard Rate VAT@20%) irrespective of whether the artist is registered for VAT i.e. the VAT relates to a commercial gallery VAT registration)
      • e.g. for a painting priced at £1000 the deduction by the gallery equals commission of £450 and VAT on commission on £90 = TOTAL deduction of £540
      • meaning the artist is paid £460 
      • from which the artist must then deduct the costs of the materials, frame, the courier / transport to the exhibition, materials and a contribution to studio overheads)
    • Artists from outside the UK may need to register for VAT, please check with HM Revenue and Customs: https://www.gov.uk . VAT on art imported into the UK for sale is 5%.
Packaging from delivered works cannot be retained and must be taken away at the point of delivery.

Generic Information about submitting to the Annual Exhibition 2020


This is the standard information relevant to any exhibition at the Mall Galleries by a society which is a member of the Federation of British Artists. The General Terms and Conditions are universal. The ones which are specific to this exhibition are in "What you can submit" above

You can find Information about the exhibition on the Mall Galleries Website

The Call for Entries Terms and Conditions are applicable to ALL FBA exhibitions at the Mall Galleries. These cover:

The RP Exhibition 2020

With respect to the RP Annual Exhibition you need to use:

How to Submit


The process works as follows
  • Read the generic terms and conditions - general and specific
  • Read the specific entry requirements for this exhibition
  • Register for digital submission - if you have never entered before
  • Login to the Open Exhibition Entry website
  • Submit your entry online prior to the deadline of Friday 17 January 2020, 12 noon
    • You need to complete the form, pay the fee and upload images of work
    • Images must be in JPEG format and under 5MB
  • Pre-selection is based on online entries and associated digital images
  • Notification of Pre-selection: Friday 24 January, 12 noon
  • Deliver pre-selected entries ONLY to Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD for final selection on Saturday 22 February, 10am to 5pm
  • Final selection - in front of a Panel of Members of the RP
  • Notification of Acceptance Tuesday 25 February, 12 noon
  • Collect work not accepted for exhibition from Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD on Thursday 27 February, 10am to 5pm* 
  • Collect unsold work: Thursday 28 May, 10am to 5pm*
* any work uncollected by 5pm will be removed and stored at a separate location for which artists will be charged a storage fee.

The selectors' decisions are final and no feedback is offered.

smaller portraits - mainly heads



The Last 11 Years: Past Annual Exhibitions (2009-2019)


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