BP Portrait Award 2013
Berkshire based South African artist Susanne du Toit wins £30,000 prize
ON TUESDAY 18 JUNE 2013 the winner of the BP Portrait Award 2013 was announced at the National Portrait Gallery. The prestigious first prize was won by 57-year-old artist Susanne du Toit, for Pieter, a powerful painting of her eldest son.
Susanne du Toit wins £30,000 and a commission, at the National Portrait Gallery Trustees’ discretion, worth £5,000. The portrait can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery from Thursday 20 June when the BP Portrait Award 2013 exhibition opens to the public.
The second prize of £10,000 went to Coventry-based artist and teacher John Devane, 58, for The Uncertain Time, a striking group portrait depicting his children Lucy, Laura and Louis.
The BP Young Artist Award of £7,000 for the work of a selected entrant aged between 18 and 30 has been won by Owen Normand for Das Berliner Zimmer (The Berlin Room).
First Prize: Susanne du Toit (05.03.1955) for Pieter (1080 x 830mm, oil on canvas)
Educated at the University of Pretoria and the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, Susanne du Toit is an artist now based in Crowthorne, Berkshire. She has won for her portrait of her eldest son Pieter, aged 35. The sitting took place in the artist’s studio, as part of a series of portraits of her family. Susanne du Toit says she allowed Pieter to find his own pose, with the condition that his hands would appear prominently in the composition – she says she has always found hands essential to communicating personality. ‘I look to the body to provide as much expression as the face’, she says. ‘Having said that, the averted gaze of this portrait, which was his choice, struck me as characteristic of his reflective character, and became intensely engaging’.
Second Prize: John Devane (17.08.1954) for The Uncertain Time (1720 x 2490mm, oil on canvas).
A painter who also teaches at Coventry University, John Devane, has an MA from the Royal College of Art. He has been shortlisted for his large group portrait of his three children: Lucy, 25, Laura, 20, and Louis, 15. Painted over three years, the picture sets out to show how children emerge from childhood and begin to assert their independence revealing something of their adult selves. He says: ‘The composition suggests an almost stage-like shallow space constructed in two zones with the three figures presented as if they are awaiting some kind of event’. The artist’s key points of reference are the works of Courbet, Chardin, Degas, Balthus and Samuel Beckett. This will be the second time John Devane’s work has been exhibited at the BP Portrait Award, his In the House of The Cellist was seen in the 1995 exhibition.
BP Young Artist Award: Owen Normand (19.12.1984) for Das Berliner Zimmer (The Berlin Room) (oil on wooden board 370 x 280 mm)
Owen Normand is a Scottish painter and illustrator who studied at Edinburgh College of Art and who now lives in Berlin. Das Berliner Zimmer (The Berlin Room) is a portrait of his girlfriend Hannah painted in her bedroom in the German capital, where they both relocated nearly three years ago. Normand says the ‘Berliner Zimmer’ is unique to Berlin: the name for a long, dark room facing into an inner courtyard with just a single window at the far end. The painting was inspired by Hannah’s connection to the city, particularly through her grandmother who moved there in the 1930s and still lives there today. The artist says he chose this pose because: ‘I found that the combination of Hannah’s expression and the striking lighting created a sense of intrigue’.
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