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Jony Ive subject of new National Portrait Gallery commission

The National Portrait Gallery in London unveiled its latest commission on Friday, revealing a portrait of Apple CDO Jony Ive as captured by famed photographer Andreas Gursky.


Source: The National Portrait Gallery

The second in a series of three commissions (PDF link) conducted in partnership with Outset Contemporary Art Fund (the first was Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousafzai), Ive's portrait was taken in the halls of Apple Park's main "spaceship" building. In the photo, Ive stands leaning against a pane of transparent glass, overlooking the inner courtyard of the structure he helped design.

"I have been obsessed with Andreas' work for a couple of decades and vividly remember the thrill of our first meeting seven years ago," Ive said. "His very particular and objective presentation of what he sees, whether voluminous landscapes or the rhythm and repetition of supermarket shelving is both beautiful and provocative. Mindful that he rarely makes portraits, this is a conspicuous and particular honor for me."

Gursky is known for large format photographs, often of landscapes or architecture that play on symmetry. Rarely does the human form find its way into a Gursky work, and the artist is almost adverse to portraiture. Ive's piece currently stands as the photographer's lone portrait commission taken for a public museum.

"It was fascinating to take photographs in the new Apple HQ, a place that plays such a historically crucial role in our present and future. And above all, it was inspiring to work with Jonathan Ive within this setting," Gursky said. "It was he who found the form for the technological revolution that was initiated by Apple and his aesthetic has left a mark on an entire generation. I admire his immense visionary power and have tried to express this energy in my portrait."

Ive joined Apple in 1992 after a brief consultancy period. Under the tutelage of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Ive took the reins of Apple's design team in 1996 and was ultimately named SVP of Design in 2013. The title reflected his dual roles as chief hardware and human interface designer.

Apple named the already legendary designer chief design officer in 2015, at which time he took a more hands-off role on day-to-day operations to focus on the completion of Apple Park. Once a staple of product design videos, Ive has faded from the spotlight over the past two years.

In June, Apple announced Ive will depart the company later this year to pursue a private venture with fellow industrial designer Marc Newson. Apple will be the first client of the pair's new firm, LoveFrom.