Contemporary portrait paintings
"Ajmal, Refugee from Afghanistan," Carla Crawford (b. 1981), oil on linen, 2016, 24 x 18 in., collection of the artist

Every three years, artists in the U.S. are invited to submit a recent portrait for the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, judged by a panel of experts chosen by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery (NPG).

In 2019, nearly 50 works were selected from over 2,600 entries that included painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, time-based media, and performance art. All were displayed at the NPG in the exhibition “The Outwin: American Portraiture Today,” and now that show’s finalist works are on view at the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts (Springfield Museums, Massachusetts) through April 4, 2021.

The participating artists hail from 14 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico and have offered powerful insights into the human lives they portray. “The Outwin has gained a reputation for spotting the best of the best in American portraiture,” says Kay Simpson, president and CEO of the Springfield Museums. “And we are excited to also feature regional portraiture in our Community Gallery.”

Contemporary figure paintings
“80 days” (from Nessun Dorma series), Deborah Roberts, Paper, acrylic, graphite, and pastel on canvas, 2018, Collection of the artist, courtesy of Stephen Friedman Gallery, London © Deborah Roberts
Narrative art
“A Portrait of Berenice Sarmiento Chávez,” Hugo Crosthwaite, Stop-motion drawing animation (3:12 min.), 2018, Collection of the artist, courtesy Luis De Jesus Los Angeles © Hugo Crosthwaite
Contemporary portrait paintings
“Legacy,” Wayde McIntosh, Oil on Dibond, 2017 Collection of the artist © Wayde McIntosh
Contemporary portrait paintings

“Specialist Murphy,” Julianne Wallace Sterling, Oil and graphite on wood, 2016, Collection of the artist © Julianne Wallace Sterling


After closing in Springfield, the NPG show will move to the Mildred Crosby Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis (September 10, 2021–January 23, 2022).

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