After a record number of entries, three artists have been short-listed for the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery
, one of Britain's most prestigious international art prizes. This year the prize received 2,177 entries, an increase of over 276 on last year. For the fourth year, the competition has been open to all aged 18 or over. 58 portraits have been selected for the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery which runs from 24 June until 19 September 2010.
The three artists shortlisted for the 2010 award are: David Eichenberg for Tim II; Michael Gaskell for Harry and Daphne Todd for Last Portrait of Mother.
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.
The Portrait Award, now in its 31st year at the National Portrait Gallery and 21st year of sponsorship by BP, is a highly successful annual event aimed at encouraging artists to focus upon, and develop, the theme of painted portraiture within their work.
The three artists in consideration for the BP Portrait Award 2010 are:
David Eichenberg (21.03.72) for Tim II. 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. 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. 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.
The competition was judged from original paintings by this year's panel;
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
Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery, says: 'The 2010 BP is another outstanding year for the quality of the entries and the range of styles. I am grateful to all the many artists who submitted, and to BP for their continuing support.'
Des Violaris, Director, UK Arts and Culture, BP, says: 'This is the 21st year that BP has supported this vibrant competition and the invention and quality of this year's entries have yet again surprised and delighted us.'