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The Outset Commission 2019: Jonathan Ive by Andreas Gursky

Past display archive
5 October 2019 - 9 February 2020

Room 32, Floor 1


Jony Ive ('Jonathan Ive')
by Andreas Gursky
NPG P2081

This year the National Portrait Gallery has commissioned a major new portrait of designer Sir Jonathan Ive by the photographer Andreas Gursky, supported by Scott Collins in partnership with Outset Contemporary Art Fund. This is the second in a series of three Outset commissions, following on from the first portrait of Malala Yousafzai by the artist Shirin Neshat in 2018. 

Sittings for this portrait took place in March 2019, in Apple Park in Cupertino, California: the company’s new building designed by Foster + Partners led by Lord Foster, who worked closely with Ive.  In this portrait, the glazed, curved and reflective surfaces, designed to be as seamless as a giant iPhone, appear to envelop the designer, who leans against a window. The pairing of artist and sitter on this portrait commission is particularly apt: Jonathan Ive and Andreas Gursky have admired each other for many years, and share a vision in their work that is both grand in scale and focussed on detail. Gursky rarely makes commissioned works and this is his first portrait for a public collection. On working with the artist, Ive says: ‘I have been obsessed with Andreas’s work for a couple of decades and vividly remember the thrill of our first meeting ten years ago. His very particular and objective presentation of what he sees, whether voluminous landscapes or the rhythm and repetition of supermarket shelving is both beautiful and provocative.’ Gursky says of Ive that his aesthetic has ‘left a mark on an entire generation. I admire his immense visionary power and have tried to express this energy in my portrait.’