Nick Archer, Konstantin Bessmertny, Craigie Aitchison, Jeffery Camp, John Davies, Mark Entwisle, Maro Gorky, Phil Hale, Claerwen James, Brendan Kelly, James Lloyd, Leonard Mccomb, Jennifer Mcrae, Emily Patrick, Stuart Pearson Wright, Daisy Richardson, Ramiro Fernandez Saus, Brian Sayers, Sarah Stitt, Matthew Spender, Will Topley


With Rediscovering the Portrait Long & Ryle seeks to reconnect the tradition of portraiture with the point of inspiration in an artist’s life.

From Holbein to Van Dyck, from Gainsborough to John Singer Sargent, so many of the great stately leaps forward in English art have been in the realm of portraiture. But the once automatic impulse to commission a portrait has taken a battering over the last century. The proliferation of photography, the strictures of Modernism, and the breakdown of academic training in art schools across the country have each laid into the genre. A symbolic moment was Lady Churchill’s angry destruction of her husband’s official 80th birthday portrait by Graham Sutherland, which she thought over-emphasised the great man’s frailty.

Rediscovering the Portrait at Long & Ryle will show a number of established contemporary artists who, contrary to the perceived current, return to portraiture at their own initiation with a regularity that implies its centrality to their practice.

At a time when much portraiture has been reduced to squeezing a likeness from a snapshot Rediscovering the Portrait will reassert imaginatively charged painting as the most vital route to the essence of an individual. Portraits will be re-presented as paintings first and foremost.

As opposed to the rigid academic approach to commissioning a portrait, Rediscovering the Portrait is presenting artists who will consider commissions, but necessitate an idiosyncratic approach, and their own creative space. Long & Ryle will introduce and work with anyone looking for a more unusual image of themselves or someone they know. As both a corporate consultancy (to large City companies like BNP Paribas), and a gallery specialising in contemporary painting, Long & Ryle is well used to buffering demanding clients and strong-willed artists.

The exhibition will include, amongst other things, the visionary portraits of Jeffrey Camp; the quiet grandeur of Craigie Aitchison; Stuart Pearson Wright’s unnerving scrutiny and the tender observations of Mark Entwisle.

From the ashes of Sutherland’s painting of Churchill, Long & Ryle herald the rising phoenix of portraiture – alive and strange and much needed.

Sitters painted by the participating artists: JK Rowling, Mike Leigh, Michael Freyn, Thomas Ades, Bruce Chatwin, Erin O’Connor, Sir Paul Smith, John Hurt, Adam Cooper, Prince Philip, Liv Tyler Please contact Sarah Long or Tom Juneau at the gallery.

For further information, digital images, etc., please contact Sarah Long or Tom Juneau at the gallery, 020 7834 1434, gallery@long-and-ryle.com