In honor of the National Portrait Gallery’s 50th anniversary in 2018, the museum announced the Director’s Essay Prize. The biennial award fosters leading research and supports scholars whose expertise includes the field of visual biography and American portraiture. The award includes a cash prize of $3,000 for the author of a published essay that explores and enriches the interdisciplinary nature of American art, biography, history and cultural identity.
The 2019 prize was juried by PORTAL advisors Yunte Huang, PhD, University of California, Santa Barbara; David Lubin, PhD, Wake Forest University; and Lauren Redniss, Parsons the New School for Design. The Director’s Essay Prize is presented by PORTAL = Portraiture + Analysis, the National Portrait Gallery’s Scholarly Center.