Shortlisted Artists Named for 2016 BP Portrait Award

The three shortlisted artists for the BP Portrait Award 2016 have been announced by the National Portrait Gallery. 

Hugo by Benjamin Sullivan. (c)Benjamin Sullivan. 

Whittled down from 2,557 portraits from 80 countries submitted for judging, the three shortlisted artists for this year’s BP Portrait Award have been announced by the National Portrait Gallery.

Judged by a panel including artist Jenny Saville and writer Alan Hollinghurst, the final three have been nominated for the first prize. They are Cambridgeshire-based Clara Drummond for Girl in a Liberty Dress; Benjamin Sullivan, who lives in Suffolk, for Hugo, his portrait of the poet Hugo Williams; and from China Bo Wang for Silence, a portrait of his dying Grandmother.

The prize will be presented in a ceremony on the 21st June by athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill it has been confirmed. The winner will receive a prize of £30,000 as well as 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.

Artists Clara Drummond has been selected five times previously and Benjamin Sullivan twelve times for the BP Portrait Award exhibitions – but it is the first time Bo Wang has been selected.

Wang is only the second Chinese artist to be shortlisted for the first prize, with Drummond and Sullivan also being shortlisted for the first time.

The Second Prize winner will receive £10,000 and the Third Prize winner £8,000. While the competition is open to everyone over the age of 18, for the ninth year there will be a BP Young Artist Award of £7,000 for the work of an entrant aged between 18 and 30. 

The portraits  will go on display to the public at the BP Portrait Award 2016 exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 23 June to 4 September 2016.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Chair of Judges and Director, National Portrait Gallery, London, says: “It has been a great privilege in my first year as judge of the BP Portrait Award to see so many artists from around the world creating such compelling paintings. The final selection for the exhibition, including this shortlist, brings together some really striking examples of the contemporary portrait.”


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