Founded in 2019, the Director’s Essay Prize encourages cutting-edge research in the field of visual biography and American portraiture. This year’s winner is Dr. Tiffany E. Barber, Assistant Professor of African Studies and Art History at the University of Delaware. Her essay, “Narcissister, a Truly Kinky Artist,” published in the Spring 2020 issue of art reviewwas chosen by a panel of jurors for his interdisciplinary contributions to the fields of American art, biography, history, and cultural identity.

Dr. Tiffany E. Barber will present a paper related to her award-winning essay at an in-person awards ceremony at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC on Friday, September 9 at 5 p.m. ET.

The Director’s Essay Prize complements the Portrait Gallery’s Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, a triennial juried exhibition of contemporary art established in 2006, and is specifically dedicated to supporting the next wave of written scholarship on the portrait. The 2022 Director’s Essay Prize was awarded by PORTAL, the University Center of the Portrait Gallery.

For more information about the Director’s Essay Prize, visit

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