Always Australia’s most extraordinary art event, the Archibald Prize, now in its 81st year, is one of Australia’s oldest and most prestigious art awards. Combined with the Wynne, Sulman and Dobell Prizes, lively debate and controversy is assured. The winners of all four prizes will be announced on Friday 31 May at 12 noon.
With the financial support of the Colonial Foundation Trust, the winner of the Archibald Prize receives $35,000, the Wynne Prize for landscape painting $15,000, and the Sulman Prize for subject/genre painting and/or mural work $10,000. The winner of the Dobell Prize for Drawing receives $10,000, presented by the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation.
Since 1988 the public has had the opportunity to vote for their favourite portrait in the Archibald exhibition. This year the winner of the ‘People’s Choice’ will be announced on Friday 12 July at 12 noon. Both the artist and the selected voter will each be presented with $2,500.
The 2001 People’s Choice was won by Paul Newton for his painting Roy and H.G. – this was the first time ever that the People’s Choice prize winner had also won the Packing Room Prize.
The Archibald Prize
Jules Francois Archibald’s primary aim, through his bequest of 1919, was to foster portraiture, as well as support artists, and perpetuate the memory of great Australians.
Amongst many controversies, these original aims have certainly been fulfilled and indeed many believe the Archibald Prize has done more than any other single event to stimulate and sustain public interest in the art of portrait painting in Australia.
The Archibald Prize was first awarded in 1921, and over the years some of Australia’s prominent artists have won, including George Lambert (1927), William Dobell (1943, 48 and 59) and Brett Whiteley (1976 and 78). The subjects of Archibald winners have been equally celebrated in their fields and include ‘Banjo’ Patterson, Margaret Olley, Patrick White and Paul Keating.
The 2001 Archibald Prize was won by Nicholas Harding for his portrait John Bell as King Lear.
The Archibald Prize is judged by the Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
The Wynne Prize
In the terms of the bequest of the late Richard Wynne of Mount Wilson who died in 1895, the Wynne Prize is awarded to what the judges consider to be the best landscape painting of Australian scenery in oils or watercolours, or for the best example of figure sculpture by an Australian artist.
It was first awarded in 1897, in honour of the official opening of the Art Gallery of New South Wales at its present site. Many winning paintings have become icons in Australian landscape painting, entering the collections of public art museums: Hans Heysen’s watercolour Summer, a consummate masterpiece of 1909, and Russell Drysdale’s classic Sofala of 1947 were both purchased for the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. No less than eight Wynne Prize winning entries purchased by the Gallery are currently hanging in the Parallel Visions collection exhibition. In 1982 Lloyd Rees’s Morning on the Derwent was purchased for Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.
The winner of the 2001 Wynne Prize was Aida Tomescu for Platra.
The Wynne Prize is judged by the Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Entries in the Wynne Prize are also considered by the judges for The Trustees’ Watercolour Prize ($2,000) and for the John & Elizabeth Newham Pring Memorial Prize ($250).
The Sulman Prize
The Sulman Prize is awarded for the best subject painting, genre painting or mural project by an Australian artist. Established within the terms of the late Sir John Sulman’s bequest, it was first awarded in 1936. In 1991 Kevin Connor’s painting Najaf (Iraq) won the prize and this painting was purchased by the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
The winner of the 2001 Sulman Prize was Euan Macleod for Exquisite Corpse with Fire.
The judge of the 2002 Sulman Prize is John Wolseley.
The Dobell Prize for Drawing
To coincide with the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes, the Art Gallery of New South Wales hosts the Dobell Prize for Drawing, now in its 10th year. Sponsored by the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation, the Prize was initiated in order to encourage excellence in drawing and draughtsmanship.
The winner of the Dobell Prize receives $10,000, and the winning work is automatically acquired for the Gallery’s collection.
The winner of the 2001 Dobell Prize for Drawing was Nicholas Harding for Eddy Avenue (3).
The judge for the 2002 Dobell Prize for Drawing is Jan Senbergs.