Entries are now being welcomed for the Zurich Portrait Prize 2019.

The competition is open to artists working in all media. The winner will receive a cash prize of €15,000, and a commission worth €5,000, to create a work for inclusion in the National Portrait Collection. There will also be two awards of €1,500 for highly commended works. The aim of the Zurich Portrait Prize is to showcase and encourage interest in contemporary portraiture, and to raise the profile of the long-standing and constantly evolving National Portrait Collection at the National Gallery of Ireland. The shortlisted artists’ works will be exhibited in the Gallery from 5 October 2019 - 12 January 2020. Admission will be free. 

Submissions are now being welcomed, and the closing date for receipt of all entries is 20 June 2019.


About the Zurich Portrait Prize

Last year’s Zurich Portrait Prize winner was Mandy O’Neill, with commendations awarded to Blaise Smith and Kim Haughton. Previous winners have included Jack Hickey, Vera Klute, Gerry Davis and Nick Miller. This year, the Gallery plans to extend the reach of the competition and engage a wide range of audiences around the country through a supporting education programme. There will be local talks by shortlisted artists, tours and workshops on portraiture.

Previous judges have included art critics and writers Sue Rainsford, Cristín Leach and Aidan Dunne, artists Geraldine O’Neill, Colin Davidson RUA and Jackie Nickerson, as well as Tanya Kiang, Director of the Gallery of Photography. The Zurich Portrait Prize 2019 judging panel will be announced by the Gallery in the coming weeks. 


About Zurich, sponsors of the Zurich Portrait Prize

Ireland is Zurich’s location of choice for its pan-European company Zurich Insurance plc (ZIP). Since the beginning of 2009, ZIP has been headquartered in Dublin and it is the main risk carrier for Zurich’s general insurance business in the EU. Patrick Manley is the CEO of Zurich Insurance plc. In terms of domestic business, Zurich focuses on two key business areas in Ireland – General Insurance and Life. In Ireland, Zurich employs approximately 1,100 people.

Donald Teskey (b.1956), Lenny Abrahamson (b.1966), filmmaker. 2018. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland. Commissioned by the National Gallery of Ireland, 2018.

National Portrait Collection

The origins of the National Portrait Collection date back to 1875. Over the years the collection has been developed with additions of many works depicting prominent Irish individuals who have contributed to the civic, social, and cultural life of the nation. The Portrait Prize, launched in 2014, has further contributed to the growth of this significant collectionl.

Explore the portrait collection
G.B. Shaw (1856-1950)

G.B. Shaw (1856-1950)
"You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.

Head of the statue of George Bernard Shaw. © National Gallery of Ireland.