BP Portrait Award 2008
Posted by jonathanfryer on Wednesday, 11th June, 2008
One of my favourite press views each year is the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery in London. A a biographer, I am fascinated by real people, warts and all, and the BP award always attracts some amazing faces and characters as sitters. There were 1,727 entries this year, nearly a third of them from abroad. Only a fraction can be shown in the special exhibiton in the NPG’s Wolfson Gallery, which opens to the public tomorrow. I was particularly struck by entries from Romania and Bulgaria. But the four short-listed works for this year’s prize of £25,000 plus a £4,000 commission are portraits by Simon Davis, Peiyuan Jang, Robert O’Brien and Craig Wylie. Peiyuan Jiang’s portrait of her flatmate is an uncanny photorealistic piece — a style followed (not always so successfully) by several other entrants. The exhibition will run until 14 September and is accompanied by a book to which the detective novelist Alexander McCall Smith has written an introductory essay.