LONDON, ENGLAND.- The National Portrait Gallery presents BP Portrait Award 2006, on view through September 17, 2006. The winner of the BP Portrait Award 2006 is Andrew Tift for Kitty. Andrew Tift (b.1968) who lives in the West Midlands graduated with a first-class degree and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Central England. His winning portrait is a triptych of Lucian Freud's first wife, Kitty Garman, whom Freud painted many times, perhaps most famously in "Girl with White Dog" (1950-51). She used to live just outside Andrew's home town of Walsall, whose New Art Gallery houses her family's works of art, the Garman Ryan Collection. Andrew had been working on portraits of Kitty for a small show at the Gallery and this triptych is part of that series. Its style was inspired by John Freeman's 1960s Face To Face TV interviews.
Andrew has exhibited in the BP Portrait Award 10 times and has been short-listed for first prize on four previous occasions. He won the BP Travel Award in 1995 with Sayonara Pet which focused on the cradle-to-grave work ethic in the Japanese car manufacturing industry. His previous sitters include Tony Benn and Neil and Glenys Kinnock. Andrew Tift says: 'I work in a highly detailed, intensely realistic manner and aim for an absolutely pure and objective likeness. I seek to convey people in the most understanding, intimate and sympathetic way that I can.' Andrew Tift wins £25,000 and a commission, at the National Portrait Gallery Trustees' discretion, worth £4,000. Kitty is painted in acrylic on board and measures 420 x 1000 mm.
Second prize winner is Rafael Rodriguez Cruz, for 'Model 1' from Models of a Self Portrait. Rafael Rodriguez Cruz (b.1977) lives and works in Mexico where he studied architecture and fine arts. He has exhibited in Mexico and internationally since 1999. His exhibition 'Ansikte' based on an itinerary around Mexico City, Queretaro and Monterrey toured Mexico's national museums. In 2004 the Swedish region of Vastra made him artist in residence in the ateliers at the Watercolour Museum in Tjorn, Sweden. Rafael Rodriguez Cruz receives £6,000 for 'Model 1' which is painted in oil on canvas on wooden board and measures 300 x 400 mm.
Third prize winner is Angela Reilly for Self-Portrait. Angela Reilly (b.1966) lives and works in Glasgow. She studied fine art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in the University of Dundee from 1984-1987. She exhibits frequently in both Edinburgh and London and at the Royal Society of Art and Royal Glasgow Institute where she won the NS Macfarlane award in 2004. Angela Reilly receives £4,000 for Self-Portrait which is painted in oil on canvas and measures 1210 x 910 mm.
Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London, says: 'This year's BP Award brought an outstanding entry in the range and quality of portraits. We have a very strong shortlist of prizewinners and Andrew Tift's first-prize winning entry is a remarkable and penetrating study.'
Confirming the extension of BP's sponsorship of the competition, Des Violaris, Director, UK Arts and Culture, BP, says: 'The popularity of this competition with both young artists and the public who visit the National Portrait Gallery to see their work is testament to the vitality of portraiture in the UK. BP is extremely pleased to be able to extend our involvement with the award, which provides a unique opportunity for portrait artists to reach new and wide audiences.'