Black and white photo of Prince holding a guitar

Prince Rogers Nelson / By Lynn Goldsmith / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Jimmy Iovine / © Lynn Goldsmith

In Memoriam: Prince

Portrait on display April 22, 2016 - May 31, 2016
First floor

The tragic, premature death of Prince (born Prince Rogers Nelson)—a flame of creative, daring musical talent—has sent shock waves of grief around the world. Prince was a singer, songwriter, virtuoso guitarist, and funk master. Mixing the sounds of James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, and P-Funk, his songs expanded beyond the melodic imagination of the Beatles, Miles Davis, and Joni Mitchell. His first club hits featured young urban characters seeking sexual redemption from alienation. In the 1980s he refined a pop sensibility informed by political consciousness, alternating party songs with social protest on 1999 (1982) and Sign o’ the Times (1987). A master of stagecraft, Prince held court at his concerts, alternating blasts of color, dance, and sound. With thirty-nine albums over four decades, and the commercial and critical success of Purple Rain (1984), one of the most powerful music films ever made, Prince leaves us an ineffable, soaring body of work.

  • Black and white photo of Prince holding a guitar

    Prince Rogers Nelson / By Lynn Goldsmith / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Jimmy Iovine / © Lynn Goldsmith

  • Measuring wall to install Prince photograph
  • Placing "In Memoriam" text on the wall, above Prince portrait
  • Two art handlers hanging Prince portrait on the wall
  • Prince portrait on the gallery wall, underneath the text "In Memoriam"
  • The Prince portrait display showing memory book and flowers that museum visitors have left