Clara Drummond wins BP Portrait Award 2016

It was third time’s a charm for artist Clara Drummond who was declared winner of the BP Portrait Award 2016 at a ceremony at the National Portrait Gallery in London last night (21 June).

‘Girl in a Liberty Dress’ depicts Drummond’s friend and fellow painter, Kirsty Buchanan. Drummond previously submitted two portraits of Buchanan to the BP awards in 2013 and 2014 but both paintings fell short of scooping first prize. It is the fifth time the Edinburgh-born artist has been selected to exhibit her work at the awards with earlier works including a 2006 portrait of her friend, the actor Ben Whishaw.

This year’s judges, which included artist Jenny Saville and novelist Alan Hollinghurst lauded the portrait’s “subtle, enigmatic nature” and “the indelible impression the artist’s skill makes on the viewer”.

Now in its 37th year, the BP Portrait Awards is considered the UK’s most prestigious contemporary portrait painting competition. It is the 27th year of BP’s sponsorship, a controversial relationship which forms part of a five-year agreement between the oil company and the National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain, the British Museum and the Royal Opera House. BP does not plan to renew its agreement with Tate beyond the 2017 termination date.

The winner of the BP awards takes home £30,000 in prize money together with a commission from the National Portrait Gallery worth £5,000 made at the discretion of the gallery’s trustees. Drummond received her prize from athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill at last night’s ceremony.

This year’s awards attracted a total of 2,557 entries from 80 countries around the world. Runner-up Chinese artist, Bo Wang, won £10,000 for a portrait of his dying grandmother entitled ‘Silence’. A portrait of poet Hugo Williams by Suffolk-based artist Benjamin Sullivan picked up third prize and £8,000.

Selected entries from the BP Portrait Awards can be viewed at the National Portrait Gallery from tomorrow (23 June) until 4 September 2016.

In a follow-up to our last post, Picasso’s ‘Femme Assise’ was sold at Sotheby’s London last night for £43.4 million and Modigliani’s ‘Jeanne Hébuterne (au foulard)’ was picked up for £38.5 million. Rodin’s ‘Eve’ was bought in with no bids at £6.2 million.

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