The Outwin: American Portraiture Today

Mar 12 2016 - Jan 8 2017

The Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition invites artists from across the country to submit their best work in the art of portrayal. The dazzling variety of media and diverse approaches to the exploration of "self" and "other" challenge preconceived notions of portraiture. The resulting exhibition showcases excellence and innovation, with a strong focus on the variety of portrait media used by artists today.

The juried competition results in an exhibition of about 50 finalists, with the prizewinners announced at the opening. The winner receives a grand prize of $25,000 and an opportunity to create a portrait for the Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection. A fully illustrated publication accompanies the exhibition. The competition is named for Virginia Outwin Boochever (1920–2005), a former Portrait Gallery volunteer whose generous gift has endowed this program.

Exhibition overview from museum website
Margaret and Marquetta Tisdell, Original Providence Baptist Church, 2013, Paul D"Amato, Collection of the artist, courtesy of Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago, Illinois

Catalogs have been published for each year of the competition. This year's companion publication, The Outwin 2016: American Portraiture Today showcases the forty-three most inspiring and intriguing works of the triennial Competition.More than 2,500 entries were received in a variety of visual-arts media, ranging from oil paintings and drawings to sculpture, photographs, and mixed media. Grand-prize winner Amy Sherald received a $25,000 award for her oil painting Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance); she will also be commissioned to create a portrait of a renowned living American for the Portrait Gallery's collection. 

Check out The Portrait Timeline to compare these contemporary portraits with portraiture over the centuries.





  • American
  • Contemporary
  • Portrait

Exhibition Venues & Dates