Call Detail

Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2019 National Portrait Gallery

Entry Deadline: 9/7/18
Application Closed


Images - Minimum: 1, Maximum: 2
Audio - Minimum: 0, Maximum: 1
Video - Minimum: 0, Maximum: 1
Total Media - Minimum: 1, Maximum: 2

Entry Fee (Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2019 National Portrait Gallery): $50.00

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery invites artists to submit one portrait in any media for consideration in the fifth triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. This year, the focus is on broadening the definition of portraiture and highlighting the genre’s relevance in contemporary art. Artworks may originate from direct encounters between the artist and the sitter, but they may also be representative of indirect encounters. For example, judges will consider portraits that employ existing imagery or archival research as a means of responding to history. Artists are encouraged to think about portraiture’s potential to engage with the social and political landscape of our time.

All finalists’ works will form a major exhibition that will be on view at the Portrait Gallery from November 2019 through September 2020, and there are plans for a subsequent national tour. The competition is named for Virginia Outwin Boochever (1920–2005), a former Portrait Gallery volunteer whose generous gift endowed the program.

The 2019 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition is open to artists who are at least 18 years old (by September 3, 2018) and who are living and working in the United States or its territories. Each artist may enter one work.

The competition welcomes all media, including 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.  

Works must be new; any works completed before January 1, 2016, will be disqualified.