Art Market

A photo of Beyoncé shot by Tyler Mitchell was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery.

Christy Kuesel
Aug 7, 2019 5:25PM, via CNN

A portrait of Beyoncé shot by photographer Tyler Mitchell has been acquired by the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. The portrait, shot for American Vogue’s September issue last year, depicts Beyoncé leaning on a white column in front of a gold curtain, wearing a sequined dress by Valentino and a large headpiece by Philip Treacy. The shoot took place in the English countryside.

Beyoncé selected then-23-year-old Mitchell to shoot the Vogue cover last year, making him both the first African American and one of the youngest photographers ever to have shot a cover for the magazine. Last year he was also featured as a member of the Artsy Vanguard for being a “breakout talent.”

Mitchell commented on the news in an Instagram post on Tuesday, writing:

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.

Mitchell’s Beyoncé portrait will join over 23,000 works in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection—including another iconic image of the superstar singer—though the museum told Artsy it did not know when the portrait will go on public display.

Regarding the shoot with Mitchell, Beyoncé told Vogue:

When I first started, 21 years ago, I was told that it was hard for me to get onto covers of magazines because black people did not sell. Clearly, that has been proven a myth.… It’s important to me that I help open doors for younger artists.
Christy Kuesel