The Exhibition

The BP Portrait Award is the most prestigious portrait competition in the world, promoting the very best in contemporary portrait painting. With a first prize of £25,000, the exhibition has proved the launch pad for the careers of a number of successful portrait artists.

From a record 2,177 entrants, submitted by artists from around the world, the 2010 exhibition presented fifty-eight selected works including the three shortlisted artists - David Eichenberg for Tim II, Michael Gaskell for Harry and Daphne Todd for Last Portrait of Mother - as well as the BP Travel Award 2009 winner, Isobel Peachey, who travelled to Belgium and Switzerland to document those people who take part in historical re-enactments.

From intimate and personal images of friends and family, to revealing portraits of celebrity sitters, the exhibition presented a variety of styles and approaches that together illustrated the vitality of contemporary portrait painting.

2010 also saw the launch of the BP Portrait Award ‘Next Generation' project. Inspired by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the project will extend engagement with young people around the Award. Annual Summer Schools and an interactive website will offer new opportunities for learning, inspiration and creativity through portraiture.

Buy a BP Portrait Prize 2010 catalogue

    Don't Be Too Serious
    by Elizabeth McDonald, 2010
    © Elizabeth McDonald