Sarah Howgate

Ruth Brimacombe

Senior Curator Contemporary Collections

Job description

Sarah Howgate has been Contemporary Curator at the National Portrait Gallery since 2001. One of her key roles is the managing of Gallery commissions, which have included Sam Taylor-Wood’s portrait of David Beckham, Dryden Goodwin’s portrait of Sir Steve Redgrave and Michael Craig-Martin’s portrait of Zaha Hadid. She has curated two major exhibitions for the Gallery: David Hockney Portraits in 2006 and Lucian Freud Portraits in 2012. Her displays have included Alex Katz Portraits, a focus on this important aspect of the artist’s work. 


Before joining the Gallery Sarah worked for Angela Flowers Gallery first in London and then in Santa Monica, California, where she set up a new space specialising in British figurative art. Sarah judges the annual BP Portrait Award and next year will judge the Nordic Portrait Prize in St Petersburg and at our sister institution in Fredericksborg.   Sarah also sits on the recently formed Royal Society Pictures Working Group.

Research interests

My focus for the past decade has been on contemporary portraiture. Within this genre I have a particular interest in self-portraits.

Recent Publications

Publications include the catalogues for the David Hockney Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 2006 and Lucian Freud Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 2012.  In 2006, she co-wrote The Portrait Now with Director, Sandy Nairne. She has also worked with Sandy on the 21st Century Portrait, published this year.