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21st Century Portraits


Pub. 10 October 2013
Price: £29.95
ISBN: 978 1 85514 416 3
Format: 280 x 220 mm
Extent: 240 pages
Illustrations: 150 colour
Binding: Hardback
Category: Contemporary Art/Fine Art
Word count: 45,000

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Out of print

Sarah Howgate, Sandy Nairne and Jo Higgins Foreword by Andrew Graham-Dixon

An investigation of the latest and most exciting portraits from around the world, this book is an essential reference work in the field of 21st century art.


With over 150 illustrations from fifty artists, 21st Century Portraits explores new developments in the representation of the human form and face as well as the continuing appeal of commissioned portraiture.

The selection of portraits features cutting-edge new work from the international art community, and reflects an increasing interest in identity worldwide. Organised thematically, the book examines seven key strands of portraiture: Observational Portraits; Self-Portraits; Commissioned and Celebrity Portraits; Social Portraits; Geopolitics and National Identity; The Body; Re-invented Portraits.

With a foreword by Andrew Graham-Dixon and an essay by Sandy Nairne (Director of the National Portrait Gallery) and Sarah Howgate (Curator of Contemporary Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery) that locates contemporary portraiture within a historic tradition, 21st Century Portraits examines current trends, showcasing the wide range of media used by today’s artists. The book also includes an extensive list of suggested further reading.


Andrew Graham-Dixon is a leading art critic and presenter of arts television. He has written a number of acclaimed books, on subjects ranging from medieval painting and sculpture to the art of the present.

Sarah Howgate
is Contemporary Curator at the National Portrait Gallery, London. She curated David Hockney Portraits in 2006 and Lucian Freud Portraits in 2012, and is co-author of The Portrait Now (2006).

Sandy Nairne
is Director of the National Portrait Gallery and was formerly Director: Programmes at Tate. He has written extensively on contemporary portraiture and modern art.

Jo Higgins is a contemporary art writer. She holds an Honours degree in Art Theory and an MA in Contemporary Art, and is the UK Contributing Editor for Artlink magazine. She currently works in the Education department at the South London Gallery.

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