Benjamin Sullivan has won the BP Portrait Award 2017 for his painting Breech! depicting his wife, Virginia, breastfeeding their eight month old daughter. The Suffolk-based artist receives £30,000 and at the discretion of the National Portrait Gallery Trustees he will also receive a commission worth £5000.
This is the thirteenth time that Sullivan has featured in the portrait award shortlist, in 2016 receiving third prize. Breech! was selected by a judging panel including Kirsty Wark, Michael Landy and chaired by National Portrait Gallery director Dr Nicolas Cullinan from 2580 entries sent in from 87 countries.
A second prize of £10,000 goes to Thomas Ehretsmann for his depiction of his pregnant wife Caroline in Double Portrait and a third prize of £8,000 to Antony Williams for his portrait of model and friend Emma Bruce. The £7,000 BP Young Artist Award goes to 26 year old Henry Christian-Slane for his portrait of his partner Gabi Landies.
“Many congratulations to our prize winning artists and all those selected for the exhibition,” said Cullinan. “As always, it’s been an enormous privilege to chair the judging panel and see firsthand some of the most exciting and innovative work being produced by artists of all ages, and from all over the world.”
Departing from the tradition of the female sitter – and judged by a different panel who selected proposals from artists who were longlisted for the 2016 award – the BP Travel Award 2017 goes to Caspar White for his proposal to visit clubs and concerts in Berlin and Mallorca and create works about music fans.
The BP Portrait Award 2017 exhibition opens to the public on Thursday 22 June and runs until 24 September at the National Portrait Gallery before touring to Exeter, Edinburgh and Sunderland.
1. Breech! by Benjamin Sullivan, January 2017