Catherine Asquith Art Advisory
The Archibald Prize is awarded annually to the best portrait, 'preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, and painted by any artist resident in Australasia’.
This open competition is judged by the trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Finalists are displayed in an exhibition at the Gallery (although in the early years all entrants were hung). Although it is a non-acquisitive prize, several of the entries are now part of the Gallery’s collection.
The Archibald Prize was first awarded in 1921. In establishing the prize, JF Archibald’s aim was to foster portraiture as well as support artists and perpetuate the memory of great Australians. Over the years some of Australia’s most prominent artists have entered and the subjects have been equally celebrated in their fields.
The Archibald Prize, from its outset, has aroused controversy, while chronicling the changing face of Australian society. Numerous legal battles and much debate have focused on the evolving definitions of portraiture.
First awarded in 1921, the Archibald quickly became a prize eagerly sought by artists, not only because of the money it offered and the publicity and public exposure it generated, but because it also gave portrait artists an opportunity to have their work shown in a major gallery. Previously, portraitists had been largely restricted to public or private commissions. These Archibald exhibitions allowed their artwork to be viewed as a serious art form.
Entries in the Archibald Prize are also eligible for the following prizes.
Packing Room Prize
First awarded in 1991 and chosen by the Gallery staff who receive, unpack and hang the entries, with 51 per cent of the vote going to the Gallery’s storeman, Steve Peters
First awarded in 1988 and voted for by the public visiting the Archibald exhibition
Winner announced: July 15