About the Artist


Annette Polan graduated with a B.A. in Art History from Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. She completed graduate work at the Corcoran College of Art and additional studies at the Ecole du Louvre and the Tyler School of Art. Ms. Polan is Professor Emeritus from the Corcoran College of Art and Design at George Washington University. Based on experiences from 30 years of teaching, Annette Polan co-founded Insight Institute, an art based initiative to develop critical thinking and creative problem solving in various professional fields. 

Ms. Polan is known internationally as a portrait artist. She has photographed and painted the official portraits of leaders of industry and government including Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, (former) West Virginia Governor Gaston Caperton, Peter Tarnoff for the Council on Foreign Relations, Judge Rya Zobel for the Federal Judicial Center, Edward Villella for the Miami City Ballet, and Lord Baltimore for Kiplin Hall in Great Britain.

Ms. Polan has taught and lectured on her work and contemporary American portraiture in Europe, Asia, and Australia, and has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad. She is a participant in the U.S. Department of State’s Art in Embassy Program, with pieces showing in Denmark and Fiji. Her interest in the narrative extends into video and site specific installations.

Annette Polan organized Faces of the Fallen, an exhibition of 1323 portraits by 230 American artists to honor the servicemen and women who died in Afghanistan and Iraq between October 10, 2001 and November 11, 2004. The exhibition opened on March 23, 2005 at women in Military Service of America Memorial in Arlington Cemetery. For recognition of her support of the men and women of the Armed forces and their families, Ms. Polan was awarded the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Outstanding Public Service Award, which is the highest award that the Chairman can grant to a civilian for exceptional public service. 

Ms. Polan is the former Chairman of the Painting Department at the Corcoran, and she has served on the on the board of the Washington Project for the Arts. She is on the board of Smith Center for Healing and the Arts. She is a member of Art Table, the Cosmos Club, the International Women’s Forum, and the Women’s Forum of Washington. She is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the East, Who’s Who of American Women, Who’s Who of American Artists, The Dictionary of International Biography, and The World’s Who’s Who of Women.

With Lynn McKinley-Grant, MD and Aneta Georgievska-Shine, PhD, Annette Polan has developed Insight Institute to promote the integration of the arts in different professional fields as a means of enhancing visual cognition, more intuitive and creative approaches to real life situations, and a greater sensitivity to the human dimension in providing services: whether in health care, education, or in the business world. Inspired by 30 years of teaching experience, these programs are guided by a philosophy that emphasizes cooperation, collaboration, flexibility and risk-taking in addressing the daily challenges in the work environment.  

Click here to download Annette's CV:

Annette-Polan-CV (pdf)