The Art Gallery of NSW Archibald Prize

I love the Archies. Can’t wait to see who is the winner this year when it is announced tomorrow!

I’ve been going to see the finalists every year for about 7 years now, and sporadically on and off before that. Running since 1921, this annual prize is awarded for portraiture ‘preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia’.

The variety of mediums, sizes, styles and quality always astounds me just as surely as the winner is always a stand out, awe inspring winner. 

Below are the last few years’ winners. 

2013 Del Kathryn Barton, artist Hugo, title Portrait of the actor, Hugo Weaving

2013
Del Kathryn Barton, artist
Hugo, title
Portrait of the actor, Hugo Weaving

2012 Tim Storrier, artist The histrionic wayfarer (after Bosch), title

2012
Tim Storrier, artist
The histrionic wayfarer (after Bosch), title

2011 Ben Quilty, artist Margaret Olley, title 170cm x 150cm

2011
Ben Quilty, artist
Margaret Olley, title
170cm x 150cm

2010 Sam Leach, artist Tim Minchin, title

2010
Sam Leach, artist
Tim Minchin, title

2009 Guy Maestri, artist Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, title

2009
Guy Maestri, artist
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, title

2008 Kathryn Del Barton, artist You are what is most beautiful about me, a self portrait with Kell and Arella, title

2008
Kathryn Del Barton, artist
You are what is most beautiful about me, a self portrait with Kell and Arella, title

Kathryn Del Barton’s and Ben Quilty’s paintings in particular are spectacular. Large, textured and colourful, they grab your eye the minute you walk into the room. Viewing this very popular exhibition is somewhat tricky as the crowds can detract from an immersive viewing experience. Somehow, though, whenever I am in front of a real work of genius, the rest of the room fades away. 

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