The inaugural Hennessy Portrait Prize has been awarded to Sligo-based painter Nick Miller. He was selected from a shortlist of 12 for his painting Last Sitting, a portrait of the late Barrie Cooke, who died earlier this year. Miller takes home the prize, instituted by Hennessy and the National Gallery of Ireland, of €15,000 plus a commission worth €5,000 to produce a portrait of an Irish sitter.
Miller, who was born in London and but who has been based in Ireland since 1984, is well known for the energy of his drawings and paintings based on the human figure and the Irish landscape.
The shortlisted artists were: Comhghall Casey, Cian McLoughlin, Geraldine O’Neill, Una Sealy, Helen O’Sullivan-Tyrrell, Erin Quinn, Mandy O’Neill, Hugh O’Conor, John Beattie, Saoirse Wall and Gavan McCullough
The shortlist was drawn from more than 400 entries by a jury comprising National Gallery director Seán Rainbird; National College of Art & Design lecturer Declan Long; painter Donald Teskey; art critic Cristín Leach Hughes, and Janet McLean, a curator at the National Gallery. When the judges reviewed images of the entries, they were not given the names of the artists to make the process as anonymous as possible.
The shortlisted works can be seen in an exhibition at the National Gallery of Ireland until February 8th, 2015