The Outwin: American Portraiture Today

Taishya, Riding High over the Ocean of Storms (From the series “Superpower Women in Space” )

Taishya, Riding High over the Ocean of Storms (From the series “Superpower Women in Space” )

Paula Gillen

View Artwork


Laura Karetzky

View Artwork

People of the Sun (Grandma and Grandpa Santana)

Vincent Valdez

View Artwork

Kyung’s Gift in Pojagi (From the series “Women in Possession of Good Fortune”)

Kira Nam Greene

View Artwork

Customer Service Representative

Marianna T. Olague

View Artwork

Launched in 2006 to support the next wave of contemporary portraiture in the United States, the National Portrait Gallery's celebrated triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition is a major survey of the best American portraiture selected by internationally prominent jurors and curators. Now in its sixth edition, The Outwin: American Portraiture Today presents 42 works selected from over 2,700 entries, that foreground the vibrancy and relevance of portraiture today. In addition to paintings, photographs, drawings, and sculptures, The Outwin includes video, performance art, and textiles, highlighting the limitless possibilities of contemporary portraiture.

Open to both emerging and established artists, this year's entrants were encouraged to submit work that moves beyond traditional definitions of portraiture, and to explore a portrait's ability to engage with the social and political landscape of our time. The variety of media and subjects featured in the exhibition invite audiences of all backgrounds to find relation in the human experience.

Since its inception, finalists for the exhibition have been determined by a panel of jurors including three Portrait Gallery staff members and four external professionals (critics, art historians, artists). The competition is endowed by and named for Virginia Outwin Boochever (1920 - 2005) who, for 19 years, volunteered as a docent at the Portrait Gallery. Her commitment to advancing the art of portraiture is continued through the support of her children.

Click here to learn more about the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition.

National Portrait Gallery Logo

This exhibition has been organized by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. The
 competition and exhibition are made possible by the Virginia Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition Endowment, established by Virginia Outwin Boochever and sustained by her family.

Read More