Wim Heldens Painting “Distracted” Wins 2011 BP Portrait Prize

The prize winners for the BP Portrait Award 2011 were announced at the Awards Ceremony on 14 June 2011. The First Prize was awarded to Wim Heldens for Distracted an oil on canvas 750 x 550 mm. Wim Heldens is a self-taught artist whose work has been seen in numerous group and solo exhibitions in Europe and the United States. His work was previously selected for inclusion in the BP Portrait Award in 1998, 2008 and 2010.This portrait is of Jeroen, a young man to whom Heldens has been a father figure since childhood. Heldens began regularly depicting Jeroen from the age of seven. Now, at the age of twenty-five, Jeroen is a philosophy student described by Heldens as: ‘always wearing black and grey’. The artist wanted to create a ‘simple’ portrait, showing his subject in natural light.The annual BP Portrait Award is the most prestigious portrait competition in the world, promoting the very best in contemporary portrait painting. Over the past thirty-two years the Award has proved the launch pad for the careers of many successful portrait artists.From intimate and personal images of friends and family, to revealing paintings of celebrity sitters, the exhibition presents a variety of styles and approaches that together illustrate the outstanding and innovative work currently being produced by artists of all ages and nationalities.This year’s exhibition, featuring fifty-five works selected from a record 2,372 international entries, includes the four shortlisted artists – Ian Cumberland for Just to Feel Normal, Wim Heldens for Distracted, Sertan Saltan for Mrs Cerna and Louis Smith for Holly – as well as the BP Travel Award 2010 winner, Florence-based American artist Paul Beel. For the second year the exhibition will be complemented by the BP Portrait Award: Next Generation project. Inspired by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, BP Portrait Award: Next Generation gives opportunities for young people aged 14-19 to engage with portraiture. This year, young people can meet BP Portrait Award artists in short Taster Sessions over the London 2012 Open Weekend in July and in three-day Summer Schools in August, and upload their own portraits on the new project website:

Enter next year’s award – BP Portrait Award 2012

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