Portraiture

None

The Best Books of 2021

The Ten Best Photography Books of 2021

In year two of the pandemic, our favorite titles invite us into worlds outside our own

David Allan, Edinburgh Milkmaid With Butter Churn, circa 1780–90

See a Rare Watercolor of a Black Woman Living in Edinburgh in the Late 18th Century

Staff at the National Galleries of Scotland, which recently acquired the David Allan painting, hope to uncover more information about the sitter's identity

Frida Kahlo's Diego y yo (1949) sold at auction for $34.9 million on Tuesday night. 

Intimate Frida Kahlo Self-Portrait Sells for $34.9 Million, Smashing Auction Records

The stunning work became the most expensive Latin American artwork ever sold, breaking a benchmark set by the Mexican painter's husband, Diego Rivera

Half-Length Portrait of a Peasant, His Head Resting on His Right Hand, oil tempera on cardboard, c. 1903. The artist created the work at an art colony in Germany.

Artist Paula Modersohn-Becker's Portraits Were Ahead of Their Time

Raw and affecting depictions of rural life in the early 20th century were strikingly modern

Attributed to Mary Way or Elizabeth Way Champlain, A Lady Holding a Bouquet, circa 1790–1800

Women Who Shaped History

These Sisters' Innovative Portrait Miniatures Immortalized 19th-Century Connecticut's Elite

An exhibition at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum is the first to showcase Mary and Elizabeth Way's unique creations, which went unrecognized for decades

Hans Holbein the Younger, Portrait of Simon George of Cornwall (detail), circa 1535–40

Hans Holbein's Portraits Defined—and Immortalized—Tudor England's Elite

An exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum features some of the painter's most famous portraits of power players in Henry VIII's court

Yale's namesake sits at the center of this group portrait, Elihu Yale With Members of His Family and an Enslaved Child (circa 1719, attributed to John Verelst).

Who Is the Enslaved Child in This Portrait of Yale University's Namesake?

Scholars have yet to identify the young boy, but new research offers insights on his age and likely background

Titled Avant-Garde, the monumental shaped canvas alludes to Liu as a “guard” of a socialist reality she did not condone.

The Revolutionary Portraiture of Hung Liu

For this large-scale retrospective of the Asian American artist, who died this summer, east meets west in an exquisite collision

Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1982

Why Andy Warhol Peed on This Portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat

One of the iconic Pop Artist's "oxidation" paintings, the work will go up for auction at Christie's next month

"Remember Me," now on view at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, unites more than 100 European Renaissance portraits. Pictured here is Albrecht Dürer's 1508 chalk sketch of an unidentified African man.

Display of 100 Renaissance Portraits Underscores Humans' Enduring Desire to Be Remembered

An exhibition at the Rijksmuseum unites two early likenesses of African men in Europe, among other 15th- and 16th-century masterpieces

Mickalene Thomas,  Jet Blue #25 (detail), 2021

Mickalene Thomas' Dazzling Collages Reclaim Black Women's Bodies

A four-part exhibition premiering this fall showcases the contemporary artist's multimedia portrayals of Black femininity

Jacques-Louis David, Antoine Laurent Lavoisier (1743–1794) and Marie Anne Lavoisier (Marie Anne Pierrette Paulze, 1758–1836), 1788

Art Meets Science

Iconic Portrait of French Chemist and His Wife Once Looked Entirely Different

Jacques-Louis David's 1789 painting originally depicted Antoine and Marie Anne Lavoisier as wealthy elites, not modern scientists

Chuck Close Self-Portrait, dye diffusion transfer prints, 1989

Chuck Close, Artist Whose Photorealist Portraits Captivated America, Dies at 81

The painter, who faced accusations of sexual harassment later in life, continuously changed his artistic style

Shaped mostly like a diamond, Washington, D.C. is organized by geographical divides centered on the U.S. Capitol and the White House, using mathematical principles employed by the original designer, Pierre Charles L’Enfant.

Track the Hidden Histories Lurking in the Street Names of Washington, D.C.

A new exhibition highlights the people behind some of the capital city’s roadways, plazas and parks

The Marchioness (2016) depicts a member of the fictional UmuEze Amara family, "one of the oldest noble clans in Nigeria."

Imagining a Different History for Africa Through Art

Toyin Ojih Odutola conjures a world that might have been

The Larry J. West Collection features an array of early photography, (above: Untitled (pin, woman in hat) by unidentified artist, ca. 1865), presenting a stunning new visual record.

New Collection of Portraits Presents the Diversity of 19th-Century American Photography

Smithsonian American Art Museum announces major acquisition of the works of Black photographers James P. Ball, Glenalvin Goodridge and Augustus Washington

A view of the Thornton Portrait Gallery at the Huntington (L to R): Joshua Reynolds, Diana (Sackville), Viscountess Crosbie, 1777; Thomas Gainsborough, The Blue Boy, 1770; and Thomas Gainsborough, Elizabeth (Jenks) Beaufoy, later Elizabeth Pycroft, c. 1780

Gainsborough's 'Blue Boy' Is Headed Back to the U.K.—but Some Experts Fear for Its Safety

A 2018 panel of nine conservators "strongly recommend[ed] against lending" the fragile 18th-century portrait

Bronzino, Eleonora di Toledo and Francesco de’ Medici, c. 1550

Florence's Medici Family Used Portraits as Propaganda

A new exhibition at the Met reveals how the Italian banking dynasty drew on art to cement its power and legacy

The painting is one of 47 in the pop star's D Heads series.

Cool Finds

David Bowie Painting Purchased at Landfill for $4 Expected to Fetch Thousands

The rock star created the semi-abstract portrait—up for auction through June 24—in 1997

Rendering of ReWildAR, an augmented reality experience debuting at the Smithsonian's "Futures" exhibition later this year

Futures

Immerse Yourself in Five Alternate Worlds Envisioned by Leading Artists

The Smithsonian's "Futures" exhibition features commissions by Beatriz Cortez, Nettrice Gaskins, Soo Sunny Park, Devan Shimoyama, Tamiko Thiel and /p

loading icon