Aleah Chapin (born March 11, 1986) is an American painter who won the BP Portrait Award in 2012.
Born in Seattle, Washington, Chapin grew up on Whidbey Island, Washington. She studied at the Cornish College of the Arts, before studying for her Masters at the New York Academy of Art (NYAA). She was a postgraduate fellow of the Academy.
While still completing her postgraduate course, Chapin entered the London National Portrait Gallery's 2012 BP Portrait Award exhibition. She beat 2,100 international entries to win first prize for her work Auntie, a painting of a naked middle-aged woman. The prize included £25,000 and a £4000 painting commission to be added to the National Gallery's collection. She was the first female American artist to win the award.
Chapin has painted a series of nude portraits, of women from her home area, whom she describes as "aunties". She paints in oils, using photographs of the subjects as a source. She describes her award winning painting, Auntie, as "a map of her journey through life" with a "personification of strength through an unguarded and accepting presence".
Her first solo exhibition, Aunties Project, at the Flowers Gallery, New York, ran from January to February 2013. Daniel Maidman, reviewing the exhibition for the Huffington Post described her paintings as technically proficient, recognisably NYAA schooled, but marked out by Chapin's vision as she painted "badass naked older women" whose "age and wounds... tell a story". He described Steps, her 2012 painting of a group of 'aunties' as "probably Chapin's most ambitious painting to date", expressing a cartoonish self-confidence similar to the paintings of Rubens. At least one critic has not received Chapin's works well, Brian Sewell called her piece which won the 2012 BP Award a "repellent…a grotesque medical record".