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Artist Wylie wins portrait award

17 June 08 10:37 GMT

Artist Craig Wylie has won this year's BP Portrait Award for a large oil painting of his girlfriend.

The 35-year-old London artist won for K, depicting his partner Katherine Raw, which beat 1,726 other entries.

He won £25,000 and a £4,000 commission from the National Portrait Gallery. Chinese-born student Peiyuan Jianga took the young artist award.

The award, now in its 29th year, was announced by broadcaster Ian Hislop at the National Portrait Gallery.

The £8,000 second prize went to Simon Davis for his portrait of friend Amanda Smith, which was influenced by French artist Toulouse-Lautrec.

Robert O'Brien, 30, took third prize for Hannah O'Brien, a picture of his grandmother.

National Portrait Gallery director Sandy Nairne said: "These are superb portraits, each of the 2008 prize winners being a different scale and style. Painted portraiture is flourishing."

Zimbabwe-born Wylie had made two previous attempts at the painting in 2006 before starting the winning version of the epic oil canvas last year.

Wylie said of the painting: "On one level the viewer's intrusion into the sitter's emotional state is tacitly accepted. On another it is positively rebuffed."

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