Henry Ward: Meet the Artist Behind The Queen's Portrait
HENRY WARD BIO
Henry Ward is a British-born artist who specializes in portraiture. He began his training at the prestigious Harrow School in Britain. He continued his studies in Art and Art History at Goldsmiths College in London, the most famous contemporary art college in Europe, and obtained an MA in Contemporary Art from Winchester School of Art. He has been working as a portrait artist for over twenty years and has been recognized for skillfully mixing a variety of techniques used by the Old Masters with the contemporary context of his subjects.
In 1990, at only 28 years old, Ward had his first major solo exhibition at Tatistcheff Gallery on 57th Street / 5th Avenue, a pivotal gallery for figurative art in New York at the time. During the late 1990s, Ward’s work was central to a renaissance of contemporary art in Bermuda, initiated by the Bermuda National Gallery’s Biennial series from 1998-2002. In 2006, he was included in the Christie's exhibition, A Celebration of Art from Harrow School in London, which featured works from Harrow School alumni.
Ward's major breakthrough came in 2010 when was chosen to exhibit in the B.P. Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery in London. His painting of pioneering transplant surgeons “The Nephrectomy of Professor Nadey Hakim and the World Presidents of the International College of Surgeons in Chicago (after Rembrandt)” was the largest portrait ever exhibited in the 30-year history of the Award and was also included in the book 500 Portraits: 25 Years of the B.P. Portrait Award, which regrouped the pivotal works in the history of the competition.
Henry Ward credits Rembrandt's work as being one of his oldest and most influential inspirations. His technique and palette, created with paint imported from Amsterdam, are directly inspired by the Dutch master, carrying on an artistic legacy going back 400 years. Some other important influences come from Caravaggio along with more contemporary artists like Andrew Wyeth and The Helga Collection, which inspired his Faces from the Dark series - a collection of portraits in high chiaroscuro revealing the humanity of his subjects, a collective life force stronger than the specific person.
In 2016, following a long relationship with the British Red Cross during which Henry Ward curated many exhibitions and actively helped raise funds for the charity, Ward was given the honour to be personally chosen by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to paint Her portrait, thus becoming a part of British Art history.
Ward currently lives in Canada and works full-time internationally as a portraitist, showcasing his particular blend of contemporary classicism. Over the years, he has created a diversity of works and private commissions for collectors around the world, cementing his reputation as one of the most talented portraitists of his generation.