National Portrait Gallery Will Display Beyoncé Portrait

A portrait of singer Beyoncé featured in American Vogue last year will be displayed at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.

The portrait first appeared in Vogue’s September 2018 issue by 23-year-old photographer Tyler Mitchell, who was the first Black photographer to shoot for the magazine. Mitchell took to Instagram on August 6 to announce that his photo of the R&B singer would appear in the gallery.

“A year ago today we broke the flood gates open. Since then it was important to spend the whole year running through them making sure every piece of the gate was knocked down. And now I’m glad to share this picture is being acquired into the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection,” Mitchell wrote.

On Twitter, the National Portrait Gallery tweeted a GIF of Beyoncè, stating their excitement to add the portrait to the collection.

“We're just so crazy in love with her that we had to do it,” the tweet read. “We look forward to adding this new work to our collection.”

Associate Curator of Photographs at the museum, Dr. Leslie Ureña, said in a statement to The New York Times it is “delighted” to display the portrait of Queen Bey.

“We are delighted to acquire this magnificent portrait of Beyoncé,” the statement read. “This particular work brought us closer to Beyoncé’s words, appearing within the magazine’s pages, and showing us more of the historic shoot.”

The gallery announced on Twitter it would let the public know when the portrait would be available for viewing, but those who are eager to see a portrait of the R&B singer can visit the gallery to see the portrait of her 2003 debut album titled “Dangerously in Love.”

“We'll be sure to keep everyone posted when the portrait goes up but we hope you'll visit us in the meantime to see another Beyoncé portrait,” the gallery tweeted.

In the September 2018 issue of Vogue, the 37-year-old singer discussed opening doors for other Black artists. In the interview, she expressed her excitement in working with Mitchell, recalling how difficult it was for her to land on covers of magazines when she first started 21 years ago because she was told magazines featuring Black people “did not sell.”

“It’s important to me that I help open doors for younger artists. There are so many cultural and societal barriers to entry that I like to do what I can to level the playing field, to present a different point of view for people who may feel like their voices don’t matter,” she said during the interview.

In a previous interview with The New York Times, Mitchell, a graduate of the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, said his art shows people of color in a “pure way.”

“I depict black people and people of color in a really real and pure way,” Mitchell said. “There is an honest gaze to my photos.”

Beyoncè also discussed body acceptance, pregnancy, her iconic Coachella performance, and the On The Run II tour. The 23-time Grammy Award-winning singer made history last year when she became the first Black woman to headline the annual festival in Indio, California. Her performance included a marching band, dozens of dancers and special musical guests like her sister Solange and her husband Jay-Z. Queen Bey also reunited R&B group Destiny’s Child during the concert by bringing Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams on stage to perform three of their classic hits: “Lose My Breath,” “Say My Name,” and “Soldier.”

“It was a celebration of all the people who sacrificed more than we could ever imagine, who moved the world forward so that it could welcome a woman of color to headline such a festival,” she previously told Vogue.

In April, the singer surprised her fans by dropping a live album of her Coachella set. The surprise album, titled “Homecoming: The Live Album,” was released on the same day the documentary about her Coachella performance titled “Homecoming” aired on the streaming app. The documentary provided a behind the scenes look at the singer’s preparations for the performance with exclusive footage from rehearsals.

“Homecoming presents an intimate look at Beyoncé’s historic 2018 Coachella performance that paid homage to America’s historically Black colleges and universities,” Netflix announced, according to The Chicago Tribune. “Interspersed with candid footage and interviews detailing the preparation and powerful intent behind her vision, Homecoming traces the emotional road from creative concept to cultural movement.”


About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave andThe Home Reporter.