Photo Essays

Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery Celebrates the Modern Portrait

Hugo Crosthwaite, the first Latinx artist to receive the Outwin Boochever Portrait, won first prize for his animation of a woman’s journey from Tijuana, Mexico, to the United States.

Still capture from “A Portrait of Berenice Sarmiento Chávez” by Hugo Crosthwaite (Image courtesy the artist, Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, and the Smithsonian.)

Today, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery announced the first-prize winner of the fifth triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition: artist Hugo Crosthwaite. Crosthwaite’s winning entry is a drawing animation, “A Portrait of Berenice Sarmiento Chávez” (2018), which portrays a woman’s journey from Tijuana, Mexico, to the United States. The animation will be on view in the exhibition The Outwin 2019: American Portraiture Today, which also includes a diverse range of dozens of portraits by finalists of the competition. Crosthwaite is the first Latinx artist to receive the award since the national competition was founded in 2006.

“Trailblazer (A Dream Deferred)” (2017) by Genevieve Gaignard (Image courtesy the artist, Vielmetter Los Angeles, and the Smithsonian.)

The Outwin Competition takes place every three years and encourages artists living and working in the US to submit works that challenge the definition of portraiture. This year’s finalists were chosen from some 2,600 submissions from 14 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. The featured works are meant to reflect the state of contemporary portraiture in the US.

“Monroe, LA” (2016) by Richard Greene. (Image courtesy the artist and the Smithsonian.)
“Alan Cumming” (2017) by Tom Atwood. (Image courtesy the artist and the Smithsonian.)
“Secrets” (2017) by Lauren Hare. (Image courtesy the artist and the Smithsonian.)

“‘The Outwin 2019: American Portraiture Today’ features intimate depictions of individuals whose remarkable stories are rooted in the most pressing challenges of our time,” said Kim Sajet, director of Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, in a press release issued today. “Nearly all of the leading national conversations from the past three years — immigration, the rights of workers, climate change, and the impact of racial violence — are presented here on a personal level. It is a moment to stop, look around, and admire the tenacity and beauty of the American spirit through portraiture.”

“DeRay Mckesson” (2018) by Quinn Russell Brown (Image courtesy the artist and the Smithsonian,)
Still capture from “A Portrait of Berenice Sarmiento Chávez” by Hugo Crosthwaite. (Image courtesy the artist, Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, and the Smithsonian.)

The Outwin 2019: American Portraiture Today will be on view at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, from October 26 through August 30, 2020, before traveling to up to four venues across the U.S.

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