BP Portrait Award 2010

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24 November 2010

BP Portrait Award exhibition returns to Aberdeen

The BP Portrait Award 2010 exhibition, the internationally acclaimed portrait competition, returns to Aberdeen this weekend [Saturday 27 November].

The Portrait Award, now in its 31st year at the National Portrait Gallery and 21st year of sponsorship by BP, is a hugely successful annual competition aimed at encouraging artists to focus upon, and develop, the theme of painted portraiture within their work.

The eagerly anticipated exhibition showcases some of the top artistic talent from home and abroad and is Aberdeen Art Gallery's major winter show.

This year's competition attracted a record breaking 2,177 entries from painters specialising in the field of portraiture of which 58 have been selected for display.

Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums manager Christine Rew was one of the judges which is particularly special as Aberdeen Art Gallery celebrates its 125 anniversary this year.

The winning portraits by the first, second and third prize winners will be on show alongside the work of the winner of the BP Travel Award 2009.

The winner of the BP Portrait Award 2010 was Daphne Todd for her portrait Last Portrait of Mother, a devotional study of her dead mother. Daphne won £25,000 and a commission, at the National Portrait Gallery Trustees' discretion, worth £4,000.

The second prize of £8,000 went to Michael Gaskell for Harry and the third prize of £6,000 went to David Eichenberg for Tim II.

There was a BP Young Artist Award of £5,000 for the work of an entrant aged between 18 and 30. This was won by Elizabeth McDonald for Don't Be Too Serious (Camillo Paravicini).

Tim Smith, Vice President, Communications & External Affairs for BP Scotland, said: "We are delighted to be bringing the prestigious BP Portrait Award to Aberdeen, for its only Scottish showing. This year's awards attracted a record number of entrants from artists across all ages. The quality and variety of entries shows that portraiture continues to thrive in the UK and internationally."

Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums manager, Christine Rew, said: "We are delighted to host the BP Portrait Award again this year, rounding off our programme of activities for our 125th anniversary year.

"It is always a great favourite our visitors of all ages and the popularity of the exhibition is a testament to the vitality of contemporary portraiture."

Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London said: "I am delighted that the BP Portrait Award 2010 will be coming to Aberdeen. This year's exhibition is another outstanding one 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."

Also on display at this year's exhibition is the work of the BP Travel Award 2009 winner Isobel Peachey. She won for her proposal to travel to Belgium and Switzerland to sketch and paint portraits of those taking part in historical re-enactments. She visited The Company of Saynt George, a Swiss group re-enacting the history of a smaller artillery company from the 15th Century at the Castle of Lenzburg, near Zurich, and The Napoleonic Association who portray the life of a military encampment near Antwerp in Belgium.

Each year, artists exhibited at the BP Portrait Award are invited to submit a proposal for the BP Travel Award. The aim of the award is to give an artist the opportunity to experience working in a different environment, in Britain or abroad, on a project related to portraiture.

A fully illustrated book accompanies the exhibition. It includes over 58 colour illustrations price £8.50 (paperback) from the Gallery Shop.