Offaly artists urged to apply for €20,000 Zurich Portrait Prize

Deadline for submission is June 22

Justin Kelly


Justin Kelly


Offaly artists urged to apply for €20,000 Zurich Portrait Prize

Offaly artists urged to apply for €20,000 Zurich Portrait Prize

The National Gallery of Ireland is calling on all artists living and working across Ireland, and Irish artists based abroad, to enter in its annual Zurich Portrait Prize.

The competition has a first prize totalling €20,000. Deadline for submissions is 22 June 2018. For entry details see

The competition, sponsored by Zurich, invites works in all media. Shortlisted artists’ works will feature in an exhibition in the Gallery from 6 October 2018 – 13 January 2019.

The winner will receive a cash prize of €15,000, plus 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 annual Portrait Prize attracts entries from across the Island of Ireland, and as far afield as Spain, the United States, Poland and Germany.

The 2017 winner was Jack Hickey of Cobh, Co. Cork, with commendations awarded to Myra Jago (Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin) and David Hamilton (Craigavon, Co. Armagh). 

That year, submissions were received from all Irish counties except Carlow; Fermanagh and Derry. Entries included paintings; photographs; textiles, sculpture, and works in digital media and video. Previous winners of the competition are German-born Vera Klute; Limerick graduate Gerry Davis, and Nick Miller, originally from London but based in Ireland.

Zurich has signed up for a 3-year partnership with the National Gallery of Ireland as title sponsor of the Zurich Portrait Prize. Patrick Manley, CEO of Zurich’s pan-European business – Zurich Insurance plc - says, “We are really pleased to be able to partner with the National Gallery for the Zurich Portrait Prize. Within a relatively short time the Portrait Prize has grown to become an important, competitive and highly prestigious competition and one with which we are proud to be associated.”

The aim of the Zurich Portrait Prize is to showcase and encourage interest in contemporary portraiture, and to raise the profile of the National Portrait Collection at the National Gallery of Ireland. This year the Gallery plans to extend the reach of the Zurich Portrait Prize and engage a wide range of audiences around the country through a supporting education programme, with local talks by shortlisted artists, tours, and workshops on portraiture.

The Zurich Portrait Prize 2018 judging panel will be announced by the Gallery in the coming weeks. Former Judges have included art critics Cristín Leach and Aidan Dunne, artists Colin Davidson RUA and Jackie Nickerson, and Dr Yvonne Scott (Director TRIARC, Trinity College Dublin).

The curator is Dr Brendan Rooney, Head Curator, National Gallery of Ireland.


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