Hennessy Portrait Prize

NGI.2012.19, Colin Davidson (b.1968), 'Portrait of Michael Longley (b.1939), Poet, Editor and Anthologist', 2011-2012. © Colin Davidson; NGI.4573,Robert Ballagh (b.1943), 'Portrait of Noel Browne (1915-1997), Politician', 1985.© Robert Ballagh; NGI.2012.21, Jackie Nickerson (b.1960), 'Portrait of Seamus Heaney (1939-2013), Poet, Playwright, Translator, Nobel Laureate', 2007. © Jackie Nickerson; NGI 19606, Brian Bourke (b.1936), 'Portrait of Tony O'Malley (1913-2003)', (detail). © Brian Bourke; NGI 2007.21, Margaret Clarke (1888-1961), 'Portrait of Julia O'Brien (1906-1987)',(detail). © The Artist’s Estate.


Press Release: 11 March 2014

Hennessy and the National Gallery of Ireland launch the inaugural Hennessy Portrait Prize

Today, Hennessy and the National Gallery of Ireland launch the inaugural Hennessy Portrait Prize. Open to artists across all disciplines, the Hennessy Portrait Prize aims to showcase and encourage interest in contemporary portraiture, and to raise the profile of the long-standing and constantly evolving National Portrait Collection.

The Hennessy Portrait Prize will be awarded to one artist, who is a resident of Ireland or an Irish citizen living abroad, chosen by a panel of four judges comprising Dr Declan Long (NCAD), Donald Teskey (RHA), Cristín Leach Hughes (The Sunday Times) and Janet McLean, (NGI) and chaired by the Director of the National Gallery of Ireland, Sean Rainbird. The judging panel will shortlist twelve finalists, whose work will be exhibited as part of the Hennessy Portrait Exhibition in the National Gallery of Ireland from November 2014 until January 2015, with the winner being announced at the opening of the exhibition. 

The winning artist will receive a prize of €15,000 and a commission worth €5,000 to produce a portrait of an Irish sitter for inclusion in the National Portrait Collection.

Commenting on the prize, Caroline Sleiman, Market Development Manager for Moët Hennessy said: ‘Hennessy has always been a dedicated supporter of cultural events in Ireland and the Hennessy Portrait Prize 2014 is testament to our ongoing commitment to acknowledging and celebrating Irish cultural talent. We are delighted to work with the National Gallery of Ireland to search for one Irish artist whose portrait will join the National Portrait Collection.’

Adding to this, Sean Rainbird, Director of the National Gallery of Ireland said: ‘The National Gallery of Ireland is delighted to work with Hennessy on the Hennessy Portrait Prize. The Gallery houses the State’s collection of historic portraits of well-known personalities from Irish public, economic, political and cultural life. This prize will give us the opportunity to exhibit portraits made by contemporary Irish artists, and ultimately acquire a work for the National Portrait Collection.’

For further information, or to make a submission to the Hennessy Portrait Prize 2014, artists are invited to visit the dedicated webpage. All submissions must be made online and the deadline for entries is Thursday, 31st July, 2014 at 5pm.

For further information on Hennessy, please visit www.hennessy.com or log onto the Hennessy Cognac Ireland Facebook page .

About Hennessy

Immersed in Irish heritage, Hennessy has evolved to become one of Ireland’s most well-known and cherished brands. Founded in Cognac, France in 1765 by Corkonian Richard Hennessy, the brand’s distinctly Irish heritage has stood the test of time and today draws upon some 200 years of knowledge, talent, expertise and passion. It is a brand that is intrinsically linked to the Irish way of life and is complemented by Hennessy’s commitment to Ireland’s unique sociability and skill in creating unforgettable experiences.

Hennessy’s Savoir-Faire is evident from its unique heritage, tradition and exceptional craftsmanship which create Hennessy Cognac. Though the Hennessy brand has evolved throughout the years, the true art form of its traditions and methods remains timeless.

About the National Gallery of Ireland

Established in 1854 by an Act of Parliament, the National Gallery of Ireland houses the nation’s collection of European and Irish fine art spanning the early Renaissance to the 1950s. The collection comprises over 14,500 works of art. The Gallery is also home to the National Portrait Collection (established 1874).

Over the years the collection has developed through the addition of paintings, drawings, watercolours and sculpture depicting eminent Irish individuals who have contributed to the civic, social, and cultural life of the nation. Since 1998 the National Portrait Collection has been enhanced by works which reflect both a more contemporary engagement with the affairs of the nation and a broader range of subjects. These include portraits of Mary and Nicholas Robinson by Mark Shields; Ronnie Delany by James Hanley; Bono by Louis le Brocquy; Maeve Binchy by Maeve McCarthy; Brian Friel by Mick O’Dea; Michael Longley by Colin Davidson; and Gay Byrne by John Kindness. More recently the Gallery acquired photographic portraits of Olwen Fouéré, Bob Geldof and Brian O’Driscoll by Kevin Abosch and Seamus Heaney by Jackie Nickerson.