Beyoncé’s historic Vogue portrait to be shown at Smithsonian

Sabrina Barr

A historic portrait of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter captured by photographer Tyler Mitchell for American Vogue’s 2018 September issue is to be put on display at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s permanent exhibition.

In August last year, the fashion publication unveiled its September issue, featuring images of Beyoncé captured by 24-year-old Mitchell for the cover and within the folds of the magazine.

The issue marked the first time that American Vogue had hired a black photographer to shoot the magazine's cover in its 126-year history.

On Tuesday, Mitchell revealed on Instagram and Twitter that one of the photographs he took of Beyoncé – which shows The Lion King star wearing a gold sequinned Valentino dress and a gold sunshine-esque Philip Treacy headdress while leaning on a pillar – is to be included in a permanent art exhibition in Washington DC.

“A year ago today we broke the flood gates open,” the photographer wrote in the caption.

“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.”

The Smithsonian Institute’s National Portrait Gallery was founded in 1962, before being opened to the public six years later.

The gallery commented on the acquisition of the photograph from its official Twitter account.

“Our mission is to tell the story of America by portraying the people who shape this nation’s history, development, and culture,” the tweet read.

“We are happy to work with Tyler to acquire his photograph of Beyoncé Knowles into the Portrait Gallery’s collection.”

In response to a Twitter user who asked when the American Vogue portrait of Beyoncé will be available to view at the gallery, the National Portrait Gallery tweeted that it will be “sure to keep everyone posted when the portrait goes up”.

Another photograph of the singer is already on display at the gallery – the image captured of Beyoncé for the cover of her debut solo album Dangerously In Love, taken in 2003.

Several people have congratulated Mitchell over the acquisition of his momentous photograph by the Smithsonian.

“A national treasure indeed. Congratulations Tyler!” author Elaine Welteroth commented on the photographer’s Instagram post.

“CONGRATS! You’re paving the way for us all,” another Instagram user wrote.