History-making Beyoncé portrait to go on display at Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery

A portrait of Beyoncé shot by photographer Tyler Mitchell will be added to the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection. The history-making image is one of several Mitchell created with Beyoncé for American Vogue’s September issue last year, when he became the first African American to shoot a cover the magazine.

Mitchell, who was also one of the youngest photographers to have shot a cover of Vogue at age 23, revealed the news in a tweet Tuesday.

The National Portrait Gallery, which is part of the Smithsonian Institution, confirmed that the acquisition of the image has been approved and is underway, although it does not yet know when it will be exhibited to the public. The museum is located in Washington DC and opened in 1968.

“We are delighted to acquire this magnificent portrait of Beyoncé,” wrote Leslie Ureña, Associate Curator of Photographs, Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, in an email to CNN.

In the photograph, Beyoncé wears a dress by Valentino and a hat by Philip Treacy. The shoot took place in the English countryside.

Beyoncé by photographer Tyler Mitchell for Vogue

Beyoncé by photographer Tyler Mitchell for Vogue Credit: Tyler Mitchell

“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,” Beyoncé wrote in the extended captions that accompanied the imagery in the issue. “Clearly that has been proven a myth. Not only is an African American on the cover of the most important month for Vogue, this is the first ever Vogue cover shot by an African American photographer.”

Around the time that the famous issue hit news stands Mitchell said: “You’d imagine someone as famous as Beyoncé to be protective of her image, but she was really an open book — and that’s exactly what you want as a photographer.”

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