Founded in 2019, the Director’s Essay Prize fosters leading research in 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 recipient will be asked to present a paper on their essay topic at the National Portrait Gallery during an award ceremony in fall 2022.
To qualify, scholarly essays must have been published in print or online within the past three years (details below). The award is by nomination only, and authors and publishers may not self-nominate. The deadline for nominations is March 7, 2022, at 5 p.m. ET.
The Director’s Essay Prize complements the Portrait Gallery’s Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, a triennial juried contemporary art exhibition established in 2006 and is specifically dedicated to supporting the next wave of written scholarship on portraiture.
Director’s Essay Prize Winner, 2022