Amy Sherald’s Rise to Fame Began With the National Portrait Gallery’s Triannual Portrait Award. Now, Meet the Next Winner

The San Diego-based artist Hugo Crosthwaite takes home the top $25,000 prize.

Hugo Crosthwaite, A Portrait of Berenice Sarmiento Chávez, detail (2018). © Hugo Crosthwaite. Courtesy of Luis De Jesus Los Angeles.
Hugo Crosthwaite, A Portrait of Berenice Sarmiento Chávez, detail (2018). © Hugo Crosthwaite. Courtesy of Luis De Jesus Los Angeles.

Is this the next great American portraitist?

The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, has announced the winner of the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, a triannual contest honoring artists that “challenge the definition of portraiture.” Hugo Crosthwaite, a San Diego-based artist, will take home the $25,000 prize, which also comes with a commission to create a new portrait for the museum’s permanent collection. 

Crosthwaite follows in the footsteps of now-veritable art star Amy Sherald, who won the last Boochever award in 2016. For Sherald, the win marked the beginning of a hot streak that included her earning the commission to paint the official portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama and joining the mega-gallery Hauser & Wirth. Other winners of the award include David Lenz (2006), Dave Woody (2009), and Bo Gehring (2013). 

Crosthwaite, the first Latinx winner of the award since it was established in 2006, won on the strength of his animated drawing, A Portrait of Berenice Sarmiento Chávez (2018). The stop-motion piece tells the story of a Tijuana woman’s pilgrimage from Mexico to the United States. Crosthwaite is represented by Pierogi in New York and Luis De Jesus in Los Angeles.

Wayde McIntosh, <i>Legacy</i> (2017). © Wayde McIntosh.

Wayde McIntosh, Legacy (2017). © Wayde McIntosh.

Los Angeles-based photographer Sam Comen, meanwhile, is taking home second prize for his soulful portrait of a man who works as a dishwasher. The third prize is split between two artists: Brooklyn artist Wayde McIntosh, who submitted a portrait of fellow painter Jordan Casteel; and Richard Greene, an LA-based photographer who was chosen for his portrait of African-American school children. 

Other notable names who made the shortlist include mixed-media artist Swoon, photographer Genevieve Gaignard, and painter Devon Rodriguez (who was chosen for his portrait of his mentor John Ahearn, three years after Ahearn made the shortlist for his own portrait of Rodriguez).

More than 2,600 artists submitted work to this year’s competition. Finalists are selected by a jury of artists and curators that this year included Lauren Haynes, Byron Kim, and National Portrait Gallery staff. 

An exhibition of 50 portraits from the shortlisted submissions, including those of the four winners, will open at the museum tomorrow. Tied together by themes such as immigration, LGBTQ+ rights, working-class labor, and Black Lives Matter, the show will be on view through August of next year before traveling to additional, to-be-announced venues across the US. 

See more portraits from the exhibition below.

Swoon, <i>Sasu and Kasei</i> (2017). © Swoon.

Swoon, Sasu and Kasei (2017). © Swoon.

Genevieve Gaignard, <i>Trailblazer (A Dream Deferred)</i> (2017). © Genevieve Gaignard. Courtesy of Vielmetter Los Angeles.

Genevieve Gaignard, Trailblazer (A Dream Deferred) (2017). © Genevieve Gaignard. Courtesy of Vielmetter Los Angeles.

Richard Greene, <i>Monroe, LA</i> (2016). © Richard Greene.

Richard Greene, Monroe, LA (2016). © Richard Greene.

Larry W. Cook Jr., <i>Fatherhood 2</i> (2018). © Larry W. Cook, Jr.

Larry W. Cook Jr., Fatherhood 2 (2018). © Larry W. Cook, Jr.

Sam Comen, <i>Jesus Sera, Dishwasher</i> (2018). © Sam Comen.

Sam Comen, Jesus Sera, Dishwasher (2018). © Sam Comen.

Devon Rodriguez, <i>John Ahearn</i> (2017). © Devon Rodriguez.

Devon Rodriguez, John Ahearn (2017). © Devon Rodriguez.


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