Overview
Learn more about the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes, and also the Gippsland Art Gallery - Victorian host of the Archibald Prize 2021 Regional Tour.

The Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes

The Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes are major art awards run by the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

High profile, eagerly anticipated and often controversial, the Archibald Prize for portraiture celebrates its centenary in 2021.

The annual exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales – widely referred to as ‘the Archibald Prize’ – is a joint show of all finalists in the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes.

Each year, the trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales judge the Archibald and Wynne Prizes, and invite an artist to judge the Sulman Prize.

The Archibald Prize

The 2021 Archibald Prize winning portrait of Guy Warren at 100 by artist Peter Wegner.
Above: The 2021 Archibald Prize winning portrait of Guy Warren at 100 by artist Peter Wegner.

This year, Australia’s oldest and most-loved portrait award, the Archibald Prize, is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Awarded to the best portrait, ‘preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia’, the Archibald Prize is a who’s who of Australian culture, from politicians to celebrities and from sporting heroes to artists.

Prestigious and controversial, the Archibald Prize is Australia’s foremost portraiture prize. The Archibald Prize awards $100,000 prize money to the winning artist.

Established in 1921, the Archibald Prize is an open competition judged by the trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Entries to the Archibald Prize must be completed in the past year with at least one live sitting with the subject.

More than 6,000 works have been shown in the Archibald to date. In the early years, all entries were hung.

Each year, finalists are exhibited at the Art Gallery of NSW before embarking on a regional tour.

The Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes 2021 is proudly presented by ANZ.

The Packing Room Prize

The 2021 Packing Room Prize winning portrait of Kate Ceberano by artist Kathrin Longhurst.
Above: The 2021 Packing Room Prize winning portrait of Kate Ceberano by artist Kathrin Longhurst.

Entries in the Archibald Prize are eligible to be considered for the Packing Room Prize valued at $3,000 and the ANZ People’s Choice award valued at $5,000.

The Packing Room Prize was first awarded in 1991 and is chosen by the gallery staff who receive, unpack and hang the entries. However, 52 per cent of the vote goes to the head of the packing room, Brett Cuthbertson.

The ANZ People’s Choice award was first awarded in 1988 and is voted for by members of the public visiting the Archibald Prize exhibition.

The History

The inaugural winner of the Archibald Prize in 1921 was a portrait of Harold Desbrowne Annear by Melbourne artist W B McInnes.
Above: The inaugural winner of the Archibald Prize in 1921 was a portrait of Harold Desbrowne Annear by Melbourne artist W B McInnes.

First awarded in 1921, the Archibald Prize was established following a bequest from former Art Gallery of NSW trustee and founder of The Bulletin magazine, JF Archibald (1856-1919).

Archibald was a passionate supporter of a distinctly Australian style of nationalism, journalism and the arts. In establishing the prize his aim was to foster portraiture as well as support artists and perpetuate the memory of great Australians. JF Archibald died in 1919 at St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst, with the first Archibald Prize being staged two years after his death.

According to Archibald’s will – held in the Art Gallery of NSW archive – the Archibald Prize is to be awarded annually to the best portrait ‘preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia’. Portraits must have been painted in the previous year from at least one live sitting with the artist.

The inaugural winner of the Archibald Prize in 1921 was a portrait of Harold Desbrowne Annear by Melbourne artist W B McInnes. For more information, visit artgallery.nsw.gov.au/prizes/archibald

The Gippsland Art Gallery

Above: The Gippsland Art Gallery was first established in 1965, and was the first public art venue to open east of Melbourne.

The Gippsland Art Gallery is situated at the Port of Sale, overlooking stunning waterways and parkland.

Every year the Gallery hosts around twenty exhibitions of local, national and international significance, in addition to ongoing and evolving displays of the permanent collection.

The Gippsland Art Gallery was established in 1965 as the Sale Regional Arts Centre, above the City Library in Macalister Street, Sale.

The Gallery was the first public art venue to open east of Melbourne. A Victorian State Government Grant of £20,000 enabled construction of the Gallery, which was initially operated by a Committee of Management. The Gallery was staffed entirely by volunteers until its first Director, Gwen Webb OAM, was appointed in 1976. It continued to operate as a community gallery until 1994, when it came under the management of the newly formed Wellington Shire Council. The Gallery relocated to the Port of Sale Civic Centre, where it reopened in 1995.

In July 2015 the Gallery commenced a major, $14.53 million redevelopment, funded jointly by Federal, State and Local Governments, in addition to a $1.5 million gift from the John Leslie Foundation.

The redevelopment has dramatically enhanced the visitor experience, with increased exhibition spaces and improved access to the Gallery collection. The new Gippsland Art Gallery opened to the public on 6 January 2018.

Features of the new Gallery include access to the art reference library, The Dock Cafe, Gallery Shop, and a dedicated showcase for the celebrated Sale-based textile artist Annemieke Mein OAM.