07 March, 2009

ARCHIBALD.WYNNE.SULMAN.09... Prize Announced

One of my favourite art prize events in the Australian art arena is the Archibald.Wynne.Sulman prize. The Archibald is a prize based on the Best portrait painting preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in Art, Letters, Science or Politics. The Wynne Prize is based on the Best landscape painting of Australian scenery, or figure sculpture, and the Sulman Prize is based on Best subject painting, genre painting or mural project by an Australian artist.
It's quite huge art [prize] event - in 3 categories - and is hosted & platformed by the Art Gallery of New South Wales [without doubt one of my favourite places in Sydney]. One of my most beloved artists, Brett Whiteley in 1976, Whiteley's Self Portrait in the Studio was a turning point, as it challenged traditional tenets of likeness and realism and stretched the definition of portraiture. Then in 1978 [a very important year] Whiteley won the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes becoming the first artist to win all three prizes in one year.
So this momentous Australian art prize has just been announced last night for 2009 and the winners are....

2009 Archibald Prize winner - Guy Maestri 'Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupinguoil' on linen – 200cm x 168cm
For more on Geoffrey Gurumul Yunpinguoil and his beautiful [voice &] work please visit this link.

2009 Wynne Prize winner - Lionel Bawden, 'The amorphous ones (the vast colony of our being)'

2009 Sulman Prize winner - Ivan Durrant, 'Anzac Match, M.C.G.'

For those who don't know too much about the Archiblad prize here's a little background for you...
JF Archibald had no desire to become famous and during his lifetime, he shunned publicity and remained evasive and enigmatic. A portrait of him, commissioned by the Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, was made after his death and remains as one of the pictorial records of a man who avoided having his photograph taken. Yet JF Archibald is the man behind one of Australia’s oldest and best known art prizes for portraiture.
He was born in Victoria in 1856, christened with the name John Feltham. When he was fifteen, he started his career in journalism on a country newspaper in Warrnambool, Victoria. His passion for newspapers led him to Melbourne searching for work in ‘the big smoke’. He lived a bohemian life, frequenting Melbourne’s city boarding houses, streets, theatres and cafes. A life he imagined to be quite European, which led him to change his name to Jules François and later to leave money in his will for a large fountain to be built in the middle of Sydney’s Hyde Park to commemorate the association of France and Australia in World War I.
Realising the power of print, in 1880 he and a friend founded the Bulletin magazine, a radical journal for its time addressing issues of nationhood, culture and identity. This journal was influential in shaping opinions and raising issues in the public’s consciousness. He also employed the best young artists to be its illustrators. His interest in art led him in his later years to serve as a Trustee for the Art Gallery of New South Wales, keen to promote the work of younger artists and writers. In 1900, he commissioned Melbourne portrait artist, John Longstaff to paint a portrait of poet Henry Lawson for fifty guineas. Apparently he was so pleased with this portrait, that he left money in his will for an annual portrait prize.
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. It has become one of the most popular annual art exhibitions in Australia.

From The Art Gallery Of NSW - JF Archibald

The Wynne Prize - In the terms of the bequest of the late Richard Wynne of Mount Wilson , who died in 1895, the Wynne Prize is awarded to what the judges consider to be the best landscape painting of Australian scenery in oils or watercolours, or for the best example of figure sculpture by an Australian artist.
It was first awarded in 1897, in honour of the official opening of the Art Gallery of New South Wales at its present site. Many winning paintings have become icons in Australian landscape painting, entering the collections of public art museums: Hans Heysen's watercolour Summer, a consummate masterpiece of 1909, and Russell Drysdale's classic Sofala of 1947 were both purchased for the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. No less than eight Wynne Prize winning entries have been purchased by the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The winner receives $25,000.

[For more on one of my most favourite places Mt Wilson - to walk, picnic and explore the beautiful open gardens , was also home to the late, great Patrick White's parents who lived in one of the most beautiful homes 'Withycombe' located on the corner of The Avenue and Church Avenue fromn 1912 to 1937- for more visit this link article from SMH 2004].

The Sulman Prize - The Sulman Prize is awarded for the best subject painting, genre painting or mural project by an Australian artist. Established within the terms of the late Sir John Sulman's bequest, it was first awarded in 1936. In 1991 Kevin Connor's painting Najaf (Iraq) won the prize and this painting was purchased by the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. The winner receives $20,000.

Image: Crowds visit the Art Gallery of New South Wales to view the 1944 Archibald Prize, as reported/ photographed by The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 January 1945.

For a snap shot into the Chronology of Events from 1900 – 2007 of the Archibald please visit this link.

All images from Art Gallery of New South Wales. Sarah Verity {of Verandah Home & Garden Living Solutions} is a 'Society - Contempo' Member of the AGNSW. For Membership to the AGNSW details please visit this link.

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