The winner of this year’s BP Portrait Award, announced at the National Portrait Gallery tonight, is Susanne du Toit, 57. The Berkshire-based artist was awarded the £30,000 prize for her painting, Pieter, a portrait of her 35-year-old eldest son. Her prize includes a commission, at the National Portrait Gallery Trustees’ discretion, worth £5,000.
The second prize of £10,000 went to Coventry-based artist and teacher John Devane, 58, for The Uncertain Time, a group portrait of his children Lucy, Laura and Louis. The BP Young Artist Award of £7,000 for the work of an entrant between 18 and 30 has been won by Scottish painter and illustrator Owen Normand for Das Berliner Zimmer (The Berlin Room).
The winning painting by du Toit is part of a series of portraits of the artist’s family. Speaking about the work, she said that she allowed her son to find his own pose – with the condition that his hands would appear prominently in the composition. “I look to the body to provide as much expression as the face,” she said. “Having said that, the averted gaze of this portrait, which was his choice, struck me as characteristic of his reflective character, and became intensely engaging.”
This year’s BP Portrait Award received 1,969 entries from 77 different countries. Judged anonymously, 55 portraits have been selected for the exhibition, which takes place at the National Portrait Gallery, London, 20 June-15 September 2013.
Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery, said: “The standard of the BP Portrait Award 2013 is as high as ever, and congratulations go to all the artists, but especially to Susanne du Toit for her simple but outstanding portrait of her son.”