Pictures of You

Long before selfies, portraits were a way for those who could afford it to help shape their public image.


Kim Sajet was appointed director of the National Portrait Gallery in 2013. Presiding over a national collection of American portraiture is an extraordinary role for the Nigerian-born Sajet, who was raised in Australia and is also a citizen of the Netherlands, and her global perspective is welcome and refreshing. She perceives how many of the notable Americans depicted in the Portrait Gallery collection are viewed outside the United States and offers us a deeper understanding about their accomplishments and influence.

Before joining the Smithsonian, Sajet was the president and CEO of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania from 2007 to 2013. Previously, she was senior vice president and deputy director of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the oldest art museum and school in the country. From 1998 until 2001, Sajet was the director of corporate relations at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and she served first as curator and then the director of two Australian art museums from 1989 until 1995.

Sajet earned a master’s degree in art history at Bryn Mawr College; a master’s degree in business administration at Melbourne University Business School in Australia; a bachelor’s degree, also in art history, at Melbourne University; and a graduate diploma in Museum Studies from Deakin University in Australia.

She completed arts leadership training at the Harvard Business School, the Getty and National Arts Strategies. In addition to 20 years of arts management experience, Sajet has written a number of scholarly publications, curated permanent-collection and touring exhibitions and spoken at academic symposia. Her most recent publication was on American artists who worked in Dutch art colonies between 1880 and 1914.

(from the National Portrait Gallery)


Alexandra Tyng is a realist painter whose work combines traditional methods with a contemporary viewpoint. Alex was born in Rome, Italy, and has lived in Philadelphia most of her life. Primarily self-taught, Alex chose an academic education over art school. She learned traditional oil painting techniques by examining the work of the old masters, reading about the methods and materials of other artists, and watching artists paint.

Alex’s portraits incorporate descriptive backgrounds and a uniquely figurative sensibility. Her non-commissioned figurative work focuses on people in the process of living and interacting in their own environments, rather than in formal poses. In other paintings, the figures become distant focal points while the setting predominates. Alex’s landscapes range from intimate views of particular places to mountaintop panoramas to large-scale aerial views of the glacially carved land formations of coastal Maine. 

Alex has had solo shows in New York, Maine, and Philadelphia. Her work is included in many public, corporate, and private collections in the U.S. and abroad. Her figurative paintings and portraits have garnered awards from the Portrait Society of America, the Allied Artists of America, the Woodmere Art Museum, The Artist’s Magazine, and American Artist. In 2008, Alex was selected as one of Maine’s outstanding artists by Maine Home +Design; in 2009 an article on her landscape work appeared in that same publication.  Her Maine landscapes have also been featured in The Art of Monhegan by Carl Little and in art magazines including Fine Art Connoisseur, American Art Collector, The Artist’s MagazineInternational Artist, and O&S (Poets and Artists). Alex leads workshops in Maine and Philadelphia, and teaches portraiture in the Philadelphia area. Alex is a member of the Maine Landscape Guild and the founder of Portraits for the Arts, an ongoing philanthropic project that uses the power of portraiture to raise money for the arts in the Philadelphia area.

(from artist's website)


Maria Teicher, born 1983 in New Jersey, is a fine art portrait and figurative artist residing in Philadelphia, PA. Using historic and personal symbolism, her works blend together contemporary concepts and an honest connection with those around her.

Maria received her MFA in 2013. She exhibits regularly in Philadelphia, New York, and California. She finished her second solo show with Arch Enemy Arts Gallery in 2015 and is currently developing a new body of work for her next one. Maria is part of the BeinArt Collective, whose main gallery is located in Melbourne, Australia.

When Maria is not painting and drawing, you can find her teachingphotographing, and writing in her blog or for The Art Is Not Dead, a Philly-based arts and creative community website she co-founded with writer/musician Brian Dougherty.

(from artist's website)