Archie Time Again: for the 100th Occasion

And the winner is Peter Wegner for his portrait of artist Guy Warren at 100

Guy Warren by Peter Wegner Oil on canvas 120.5 x 151.5 cm (1)

The world famous Archibald Prize for Portraiture commenced in 1921 when the winner was W B McInnes for his portrait of Desbrowe Annear as seen below.

Desbrowe Annear by W B McInnes the first Archibald Prize winner (1921) (2)

The Archibald Prize is an Australian portraiture art prize, generally seen as the most prestigious portrait prize in Australia. It was first awarded in 1921 after the receipt of a bequest from J. F. Archibald, the editor of The Bulletin who died in 1919. It is administered by the trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales and awarded for "the best portrait, preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in Art, Letters, Science or Politics, painted by an artist resident in Australia during the twelve months preceding the date fixed by the trustees for sending in the pictures." The Archibald Prize has been awarded annually since 1921 (with two exceptions) and since July 2015 the prize has been AU$100,000. 2

There are however two more reasons to celebrate The Archibald this year:

  1. For the first time, there is gender parity for artists selected as Archibald finalists: 26 women and 26 men. Female sitters outnumber the men (although that is not a first).

  2. It is also the first time there have been more works by women than men in the combined Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes exhibition.

The 2021 winning artist Peter Wegner has said of his oil on canvas portrait (120.5cm x 151.5cm) of Guy Warren:

'Guy Warren AM turned 100 in April – he was born the same year the Archibald Prize was first awarded in 1921. This is not why I painted Guy, but the coincidence is nicely timed,' says Peter Wegner.

Warren won the 1985 Archibald Prize with a portrait of artist Bert Flugelman, (below) which is included in the Archie 100 exhibition. This is the seventh time he has been an Archibald subject, including a self-portrait in 1996.

‘I have been working on a series of drawings of people who have turned 100 and this was initially the reason l approached Guy. I have been aware of his work for many years, especially the portrait that won the 1985 Archibald. I chose to paint him because he is one of the most remarkable centenarians l have ever met. He still finds purpose in working in his studio daily, one of the traits he attributes to his longevity,’ says Wegner.

‘When he placed his jumper over his shoulder, the pose was decided. This portrait honours Guy Warren in the 101st year of his productive and meaningful life.’
(Art Gallery of NSW 1)

Archibald Prize 1985 Flugelman with Wingman by Guy Warren (1)

This year's Packing Room Prize goes to Kathrin Longhurst for Kate - one of Australia's best known and dearly loved singer/songwriter Kate Ceberano who has recorded 28 albums over 40 years, hitting the Top 10 charts across five decades, and won three ARIA awards. In 2014 she was the first woman inducted into the Australian Songwriters Hall of Fame. 1

Packing Room Prize 2021 (Archibald) Kate by Kathrin Longhurst (1)

Check out all the finalist by following the bookmark link below where you can also check out the finalists and winners of the Wynne and Sulman Prizes which accompany the Archibald.

Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes 2021 | Art Gallery of NSW

To conclude a link to a very interesting article by Tim Leslie on What makes an Archibald winner?

What makes an Archibald winner?
See how this year’s Archibald finalists compare to previous winners, and tell us your pick.

Credits
1. artgallery.nsw.gov.au
2. en.wikipedia.org