Benjamin Sullivan, Breech!, 2017.

Benjamin Sullivan Wins 2017 BP Portrait Award

Artist Benjamin Sullivan’s painting of his wife breastfeeding their eight-month-old daughter has won this year’s BP Portrait Award, the National Portrait Gallery in London’s top prize. Breech! is the artist’s thirteenth work to be shortlisted for the gallery’s prize exhibition. Sullivan will receive $38,000 and a forthcoming commission from the institution.

Sullivan said he wanted the portrait to celebrate the arrival of their daughter, as well as mark the difficult time his wife had while giving birth to Edith. It was painted over the course of several weeks when a “sense of calm descended” on the couple.

French artist Thomas Ehretsmann received the $12,000 second prize for his work Double Portrait, which depicts the head and shoulders of his wife, Caroline, who was eight months pregnant at the time, and Antony Williams won the $10,000 third prize for Emma, a portrait of the artist’s friend. The prize exhibition, which opened at the National Portrait Gallery on June 22, will run until September 24 and then will travel to Exeter, Edinburgh, and Sunderland.