Figurative artists working in all media are exploring portraiture. Artists know that a portrait can communicate much more than a likeness. Personal identity, cultural differences, illusory moments—all can be captured through portraits. Portraits are created in a dizzying variety of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video and other time-based media, even images based on individual DNA. It’s up to artists to figure out how best to depict those close to them.

The National Portrait Gallery invites artists all over America to investigate the art of contemporary portraiture for the fourth Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, to be held in 2016. The competition and resulting exhibition will celebrate excellence and innovation, with a strong focus on the variety of portrait media used by artists today.

The National Portrait Gallery welcomes single figures, groups, or self-portraits, created in any visual arts medium. The competition is named for Virginia Outwin Boochever (1920–2005), a former Portrait Gallery volunteer whose generous gift has endowed this program.

Overview of the 2013 Outwin Boochever Competition: