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Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition

Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition


As the first national portrait competition organized by the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C in the United States, the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition held its inaugural competition in 2006 and is now in its fifth iteration. The call for entries for the 2019 Competition began on May 28, 2018 (Memorial Day) and runs through September 3, 2018 (Labor Day). 

The competition is open to all professional artists age 18 and over who are living and working in the United States and its territories. Each artist may enter one work. The work must have been completed on or after January 1, 2016. 

The winner of the Portrait Competition will receive a cash award of $25,000 and will be awarded a separate commission to portray a remarkable living American for the National Portrait Gallery’s collection. The winning artist and the Portrait Gallery will collaborate to select the subject for the commissioned portrait. The second-prize winner will receive $7,500, and the third-prize winner will receive $5,000. Up to four additional artists may be commended for their work and those artists will receive $1,000 each. The winner of the People’s Choice Award during the exhibition at the Portrait Gallery will receive $500. All finalists’ works will form a major exhibition on view at the Portrait Gallery from November 2, 2019, through September 6, 2020 and the subsequent national tour from October 2020 through January 2022.  

Artists are invited to interpret the concept of portraiture broadly. Entries will be accepted in all visual arts media including but not restricted to painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, printmaking, textiles, video, performance, and digital or time-based media. Paintings, drawings, photographs, and other works on paper should be framed (strip frames on paintings are acceptable). Paintings should preferably be unglazed unless they are unvarnished. Works on paper should be framed and glazed with UV filtering acrylic (i.e. Plexiglas) or UV filtering glass in the case of pastels and charcoals. All two-dimensional works shall measure no more than 7 feet x 7 feet x 8 inches (including frame), nor should they weigh more than 150 pounds. Wall-mounted works should be submitted inclusive of mounting hardware (D-rings, cleats, etc.). In the event that no hardware is included with a submission, the Portrait Gallery will add hardware at our discretion and according to best museum practices. The Portrait Gallery will provide corresponding wall-side hardware when installing works selected for exhibition. Sculptures may be freestanding or wall-mounted and may be composed of any sculptural media. This includes, but is not limited to, stone, metal, fiber, clay, wood, paper, and resin. Sculptures should not exceed 7 feet (height) x 7 feet x 4 feet in size, nor should they weigh more than 150 pounds. The Portrait Gallery will provide platforms or pedestals.

Analog and digital time-based media will be accepted, and special instructions for entering these works will be available in the online entry form. The online entry form MUST be completed.

The Outwin 2019: American Portraiture Today, the exhibition resulting from the Portrait Competition, is scheduled to be on view at the National Portrait Gallery from November 2, 2019, through September 7, 2020. 




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