Call for entries: Sixth Triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. Submissions may be sent until January 29, 2021.


Established in 2006, the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition invites artists (18 and over) living and working in the United States, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam, to submit one portrait for consideration by a panel of experts. Artworks by prizewinners and finalists are then featured in a museum exhibition.


The competition focuses on broadening the definition of portraiture while highlighting the genre’s wider relevance to society and within the field of contemporary art. It aims to bring together works that attend to the country’s diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, socio-economic status and other conditions that shape the individual and collective identities of artists and sitters. 


The competition welcomes all media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, printmaking, textiles, video, performance and digital or time-based media. Artworks may originate from direct encounters between the artist and the sitter, or draw on earlier references, such as art historical images or archival sources. Portraits may be of individuals or groups and represent sitters of different ages.


The first-prize winner will receive USD 25,000 and a commission to portray a remarkable living American for the Portrait Gallery’s collection. Additional cash prizes will be awarded. Submissions from each finalist and prizewinner will form The Outwin 2022: American Portraiture Today exhibition, which will be displayed at the Portrait Gallery from April 30, 2022, through February 26, 2023, before traveling to other cities.

The Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition is organized by the National Portrait Gallery. For each competition, the museum selects three staff members and four professionals from outside the museum (critics, art historians, artists) to serve as jurors. Taína Caragol, curator of painting and sculpture and Latinx art and history, is the director of the 2022 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. Guest jurors for this competition are Kathleen Ash-Milby, curator of Native American art, Portland Art Museum; Catherine Opie, artist and professor of photography at the University of California, Los Angeles; Ebony G. Patterson, artist, Chicago; and John Yau, critic and professor of critical studies, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.


All entries by eligible artists must be submitted electronically through the online submission site. For further instructions, visit