Albury art lovers will have to travel if they want to see the finalists of this years Archibald prize with the Art Gallery of New South Wales not including the Albury Art Gallery as part of it’s regional tour.
The prize which was this year taken out by Sydney based artist Del Kathryn Barton, is seen as one of Australia’s most prestigious prizes for portraiture.
Barton’s work You Are What Is Most Beautiful About Me (pictured above) depicts herself and her two children – Kell and Arella.
“This painting celebrates the love I have for my two children and how my relationship with them has radically informed and indeed transformed my understanding of who I am” she said.
The prize which is named for JF Archibald, the reclusive co-founder of the recently collapsed Bulletin magazine, who regularly sought out artistic talent as part of his publishing endeavours, in 1900 he commissioned the Melbourne based portrait artist John Longstaff to capture the image of Henry Lawson, he was so impressed by the result he bequeathed a grant for an annual portrait competition, the inaugural Archibald prize was not held until 1921 and bears his name to this day.
The Archibalds are seldom without controversy, not least of which in 1964, and again in 1980 when no Archibald was awarded because “the entries were not of a sufficient standard”.
In 1953 the first exhibition of Archibald “rejects” was held, and in 1988 the first “people’s choice” award was given.
In 2000, Adam Cullen’s winning work Portrait of David Wenham, drew praise for the Trustees from the Sydney Morning Herald for their imaginative choice commenting that ‘the daggiest award in Australian art is beginning to look serious’.
In 2003 a size limitation is introduced. Entries can be no larger than 90,000 square centimetres, this is because a number of particularly large entries in 2002 created problems with transportation, judging and displaying.
The Archibalds tour regionally throughout NSW each year.