Winner Archibald Prize 2023, Julia Gutman, Head in the sky, feet on the ground, oil, found textiles and embroidery on canvas, 198 x 213.6 cm © the artist, image © Art Gallery of New South Wales, Jenni Carter.
This year’s Archibald and Wynne Prize winners show that a new generation of artists have now entered the mainstream.
Archibald Prize 2023 finalist, Jill Ansell, Looking east, oil on board and assemblage in found tin, 10.8 x 16.5 cm
© the artist, image © Art Gallery of New South Wales, Jenni Carter
The Archibald Prize and the Royal Easter Show have a great deal in common. Both are enjoyed by the general public, but the entrants in the competitions are very serious about winning.
State Library NSW
Some of the media response to the death of John Olsen has been to proclaim the late artist as a ‘genius’. He was more complex than that.
Winner Archibald Prize 2022, Blak Douglas Moby Dickens, synthetic polymer paint on linen, 300 x 200 cm
© the artist, image © AGNSW, Mim Stirling
This year’s winning Archibald Prize portrait, Moby Dickens by Blak Douglas, encapsulates the justifiable rage felt by people living in flooded Bundjalung country
Archibald Prize 2022 finalist, Yoshio Honjo Yumi Stynes as onna-musha (female samurai), natural earth pigments on hand made washi paper, 97 x 66 cm
© the artist, image © AGNSW, Mim Stirling
Under the cloud of an election, this year’s Archibald prize is mercifully a politician-free zone. However the artists do have issues …
Peter Wegner’s Guy Warren in his 100th Year, winner of the 2021 Archibald Prize.
AGNSW/Peter Wegner/Photo Jenni Carter
In its centenary year, the Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales could not resist the symbolism of awarding the Archibald Prize to Peter Werner’s portrait of the 100 year old Guy Warren.
Winner: Archibald Prize 1972: Clifton Pugh. ‘The Hon EG Whitlam’ 1972. Oil on composition board, 113.5 x 141.5 cm.
© Estate of Clifton Pugh
It’s 100 years since the Art Gallery of NSW first held the Archibald Prize. Though loathed by some critics, it is an annual snapshot of the kind of society we are, and who our heroes might be.
AAP Image/Joel Carrett
Leak will be the first official portrait painter of a former Prime Minister who has not been an Archibald finalist.
Vincent Namatjira’s Stand strong for who you are, acrylic on linen, 152 x 198 cm.
Photo: AGNSW/Mim Stirling
For the first time in its 99 year-history, the Archibald Prize has been won by an Indigenous painter. The Wynne and Sulman Prize winners also signal a time of change.
Archibald Prize 2020 finalist Blak Douglas (aka Adam Hill),
Writing in the sand,
synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 250 x 250 cm © the artist.
Photo: AGNSW, Felicity Jenkins Sitter: Dujuan Hoosen - documentary star ('In my blood it runs')
Most years, the Archibald exhibition is worth viewing as an amusing exercise in social history. This year it is worth seeing for the art.
Archibald Prize 2019 winner, Tony Costa, ‘Lindy Lee’, oil on canvas, 182.5 x 152 cm, © the artist.
Photo: AGNSW, Felicity Jenkins Sitter: Lindy Lee - artist
The annual announcement of the Archibald Prize is one of Sydney’s great spectacles. This year’s winning portrait depicts one of Australia’s leading artists, Lindy Lee.
Detail from Archibald Prize 2019 finalist Keith Burt,
‘Benjamin Law: happy sad’ oil on canvas, 59.5 x 59.5 cm, © the artist.
Photo: AGNSW, Jenni Carter Sitter: Benjamin Law - author, journalist and broadcaster
Perhaps as a reflection of the current state of national affairs, this year’s Archibald Prize exhibition is a politician-free zone.
Nora Heysen, Self-portrait 1934 oil on canvas 43.1 x 36.3 cm.
National Portrait Gallery, Canberra Purchased 1999 © Lou Klepac
Nora Heysen was the first woman to be awarded the Archibald Prize, but for most of her life she was defined not by her art, but by her relationship to her famous father, the artist Hans Heysen.
Detail from Tom Polo.
‘I once thought I’d do anything for you
acrylic on canvas
152.5 x 101.5cm
© the artist Photo: AGNSW, Felicity Jenkins
The lively reconfiguring of the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman exhibitions means it is harder to work out which paintings the judges are considering as potential winners.
Wynne Prize 2017 finalist James Drinkwater, ‘Passage to Rungli Rungliot’, oil on hardboard, 180x360cm.
© the artist Photo: Felicity Jenkins, AGNSW
The standard of the 2017 Wynne finalists is as haphazard as previous years, hampered by a sense of tokenism and conventional landscapes, but works by Napanyapa Yunupingu and Juz Kitson stand out.
Detail from Tony Albert Self-portrait (ash on me), acrylic on linen.
102 x 102 cm
© the artist Photo: Jenni Carter, AGNSW
The packers’ favourite has gained prominence and there are few portraits of politicians in this year’s popular art prize. The stand out work is a deceptively innocent re-appropriation of Aboriginal kitsch.
Louise Hearman, Barry, oil paint on masonite 69.5 x 100 cm.
Photo: © AGNSW, Nick Kreisler
This year’s Archibald Prize winner is a painting with great affection for its subject. Louise Hearman’s Barry was a surprise choice – but it deserves to find an ultimate home in the National Portrait Gallery.
The Archibald Prize has announced its finalists. They are, as always, a mixed bag.
Detail of Michael McWilliams The usurpers (self-portrait) © Michael McWilliams Photo: © AGNSW, Nick Kreisler
The Archibald Prize is a curious beast – an art prize judged mostly by philanthropists. Despite this, there are plenty of finalists worth considering.
2015 Archibald Prize winner Nigel Milsom - Judo House Part 6 (The White Bird), oil on linen.
© Nigel Milsom, photgraph courtesy of AGNSW, Mim Sterling
Nigel Milsom has won the 2015 Archibald Prize for his portrait of barrister Charles Waterstreet. It’s clear the regime of the Archibald Prize is quickly, and positively, shifting.
The 2015 Wynne Prize winner is Natasha Bieniek, with Biophilia, oil on dibond.
© Natasha Bieniek. Photography courtesy of © AGNSW, Diana Panuccio.
The Wynne Prize has been notoriously male-dominated. What does this year’s winning artwork by Natasha Bieniek tell us about the nature of this particular award and how we can improve it?