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Archibald Prize

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The Art Gallery of New South Wales is the venue for the annual Archibald Prize. The event is scheduled for the months of April, May and June. The Archibald Prize is awarded to a deserving portrait artist.

The rules say that the portrait should be “preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in Art, Letters, Science or Politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia during the 12 months preceding". Other rules are that the artist must know the subject, and to have had one sitting with the artist. The value of the prize is $50 000.

William Beckwith McInnes won the first Archibald Prize in 1921 and also won it on several more occasions. Some of the other winners of the Archibald Prize include John Longstaff, William Dobell, Ivor Hele, Clifton Pugh, Brett Whiteley, Eric Smith and the 2010 winner Sam Leach.

The titles for some of the winning pieces of art include Desbrowe Annear, A. B. ('Banjo') Paterson, The Hon E.G. Whitlam, Max Gillies, The Prime Minister, Self Portrait With Stunned Mullet, Portrait of David Wenham and Tim Minchin.

Other awards given alongside the Archibald Prize include the Wynne Prize, Sulman Prize, Packing Room Prize, Trustee’s Watercolour and People’s Choice.

There is also an Archibald Prize Regional Tour, to take the art to people outside of Sydney. These events take place at the Goulburn Regional Art Gallery, Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, Tamworth Regional Gallery, Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery, Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre, Shoalhaven City Arts Centre and Albury Art Gallery and Library Museum.

JF Archibald was responsible for the 1921 portrait prize that bears his name. He left money in his will to go to the art competition.

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is located on Art Gallery Road next to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney. It is within walking distance of the centre of Sydney. It is open every day of the year, except for Christmas Day and Good Friday. It is free to visit the gallery, there is a fee for tickets to Archibald Prize events.


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