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Center for Visual Biography

Smithsonian Organization

The Center for Visual Biography (CVB), as the main academic and scholarly arm of the National Portrait Gallery, serves as an internationally significant incubator of multi-disciplinary ideas around portraiture and biography.

The CVB will foster the engagement and coordination of discussions, new research, and scholarly publications on art, history and portraiture between artists, curators, educators and the wider scholarly community. Aimed at bolstering “intellectual capital” in the development of the NPG’s exhibitions and the expansion of its educational mission, the CVB will not only bring recent scholarship and new ideas from around the United States and abroad to the Smithsonian, but re-contextualize the way we consider visual biography. The CVB will have a wide, inter-disciplinary focus that includes portraiture as a genre, biography as an historical narrative, and global issues of cultural and individual identity.