Happy Mother's Day!

In her Family Album series, Gillian Wearing recreates old photographs of her close relatives, including this portrait of her mother. Look closely and you will see Wearing’s own eyes gazing out from behind the prosthetic mask...

This portrait and others from the series feature in our current exhibition, Gillian Wearing and Claude Cahun: Behind the mask, another mask. [...
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Professor Dawn Ades and our Director Nicholas Cullinan discuss the complex 'self-portraits' of artist Claude Cahun at Late Shift next month: [ Ow.ly Link ]

Self-portrait (as a dandy, head and shoulders), Marcel Moore /
Claude Cahun, 1921-22. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Thomas Walther Collection. Gift of Mrs. Leon Dabo, by exchange
Digital image © The Museum of Modern Art, New York...
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Howard Hodgkin: Absent Friends is now open, the first exhibition of portraits by a much missed master of colour:
“This exhibition is an exhilarating journey into the ways Hodgkin extended that process over his nearly 70-year career, encompassing his responses to people and situations through time as well as space. And if there are darker notes suggesting regret at loss and the passage of time, the overall mood is one of uplifting zest for life.”

★★★★★ from the Daily Telegraph for Howard Hodgkin: Absent...
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A wonderful send-off for the man who made colour sing from the canvas - Howard Hodgkin, National Portrait Gallery, review

Portrait of the Artist Listening to Music is Howard Hodgkin’s last major painting and his final self-portrait, completed in late 2016. While working on it, recordings of two pieces of music were played continuously: ‘The Last Time I Saw Paris’, composed by Jerome Kern, and the zither music from the 1949 film The Third Man, composed and performed by Anton Karas. These were two of Hodgkin's...
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The story of Pocahontas has been romanticised and fictionalised since the earliest accounts of her life. Abducted by English settlers in 1613, the Virginia Company later brought Pocahontas and her family to England as a promotional exercise, demonstrating the successful assimilation of a Native American to English customs. However, her health deteriorated because she had no immunity to...
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"I am sure I am not the only one who turned to him for, and took his advice in times of crisis; and I know I am not the only friend to whom he gave a picture and then urged him to sell it in time of need. His love was as generous as his art."

A poignant tribute to Howard Hodgkin by writer and journalist Paul Levy, subject of two portraits by the artist.

Howard Hodgkin's journey into the art world

Relive the 1980s London club scene with photographer David Gwinnutt and guests at Late Shift this Thursday, including special super 8 film screenings by John Maybury and a DJ set in the Main Hall. Find out more: [ Ow.ly Link ]
Happy St Patrick's Day! This portrait of Irish actress and writer Fiona Shaw was painted by Victoria Russell, winner of the BP Portrait Award 2000.
Howard Hodgkin: Absent Friends opens 23 March, the first exhibition of portraits by a much missed master of colour:
"Glasses bring a kind of distortion to the face that we cannot directly see through a pair of glasses. It is a strange instrument and a practically universal theme. The banality of glasses receives a different meaning when you paint them."

Don't miss the final few weeks of Luc Tuymans: Glasses, a display of portraits of sitters wearing glasses made and selected by the internationally renowned...
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This photograph from 1914 is one of the earliest examples of a Claude Cahun self-portrait. In this symmetrical composition, her head appears disembodied, as though she's floating above the sheets, with her wild hair spread Medusa-like across the pillow. Like the majority of her self-portraits, it's likely that - while the concept was Cahun's - the photograph was actually taken by her partner,...
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David Gwinnutt’s portraits, taken in early 80s London, document a young group of artists, musicians and fashion designers that emerged from the capital’s vibrant club scene. See a selection in our new display, Before We Were Men:
"Arguably one of the late 20th century’s greatest portraitists". Our curator Paul Moorhouse and others reflect on the unique talent of artist Howard Hodgkin, who sadly passed away last week.

‘He found a style as a painter that matched who he was as a man’: tributes to Howard Hodgkin

Young artists, how will you make your mark? From elbow sketches to balloon drawing, join artists Ed Sutcliffe and Jasleen Kaur for an afternoon of free, experimental portrait-making at Pick Up a Pencil, next Saturday 18 March.

National Portrait Gallery

Using only his handheld camera and natural light, David Gwinnutt's grainy black and white photographs offer a privileged glimpse into London's underground club scene in the early 1980s. See a selection of his work - including portraits of Leigh Bowery and Derek Jarman - in our new display, Before We Were Men: [ Ow.ly Link ]

Part of the Gallery's I Am Me season, exploring art, gender and...
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In 2015 Gillian Wearing made a research trip to Jersey, where artist Claude Cahun spent the latter part of her life. During her visit, Wearing created this ghostly yet poignant self-portrait, posed behind the shared tombstone of Claude Cahun and her partner Marcel Moore. A re-enactment of an earlier portrait by Cahun, Wearing’s homage is a moving attempt to peel back the layers of this...
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"The dialogue established between the two artists in this superb exhibition highlights the differences in their approach to the exploration of identity. Cahun focuses on the many personas lodged within her, while in mimicking the appearance of others, Wearing invites us to question what we can know about anyone from the messages they transmit about themselves."

Gillian Wearing and Claude Cahun, National Portrait Gallery

A message from our Director, Dr Nicholas Cullinan:

"It is with deep sadness that we learn of the death of Howard Hodgkin, one of our greatest artists. We have worked very closely over the last two years with Howard on our forthcoming exhibition of his portraits, one that he was so keen to see happen.

"Howard’s collaboration, commitment and warm encouragement throughout have been an...
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"This exhibition makes fascinating play with concealing and revealing, identity and deception. Who is the real enigma here: the long-dead surrealist or the inscrutable and very-much-alive YBA?"

★★★★ from the Telegraph for Gillian Wearing and Claude Cahun - now open!

Gillian Wearing and Claude Cahun: Behind the Mask, Another Mask, National Portrait Gallery, review