National Portrait Gallery Announces Director’s Essay Prize Winner for 2022

Founded in 2019, the Director’s Essay Prize fosters leading research in the field of visual biography and American portraiture. This year’s winner is Dr. Tiffany E. Barber, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Art History at the University of Delaware. Her essay, “Narcissister, a Truly Kinky Artist,” published in the Spring 2020 issue of Art Journal, was chosen by a panel of jurors for its 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 prize ceremony at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, on Friday, September 9, at 5pm (ET).

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

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

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