Brandon Brame Fortune, chief curator and curator of painting and sculpture, has worked at the National Portrait Gallery since 1987.
Fortune has a keen interest in contemporary portraiture. She organized a major exhibition of mid-twentieth-century portraits by Elaine de Kooning (2015) and also organized the first two Outwin Boochever Portrait Competitions (2006 and 2009). She continues to serve as one of the competition’s judges.
Fortune has also co-curated “From Token to Ornament: Indian Peace Medals and the McKenney-Hall Portraits” (2015), “Face Value: Portraiture in the Age of Abstraction” (2013), which explored portraits by progressive artists during the period from 1945 to 1975, and “Recognize! Hip-Hop and Contemporary Portraiture” (2008). Fortune is also chair of the curatorial team charged with creating the Portraiture Now series of exhibitions, including Portraiture Now: Drawing on the Edge,” and “Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter.”
In 1999 Fortune co-curated “Franklin & His Friends: Portraying the Man of Science in Eighteenth-Century America” and authored the accompanying publication. Her primary research includes eighteenth and nineteenth-century American portraiture, such as the work of Charles Willson Peale and women portraitists of the later nineteenth century.
Fortune graduated from Agnes Scott College, and received a master’s degree and doctorate in art history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.