The finalists of the 2014 Archibald Prize

One of most eagerly anticipated prizes has again returned to excite audiences and critics alike. First awarded in 1921 it is Australia’s oldest art award, renowned for selecting artists that stretch and test the boundaries of portrait painting.


The Archibald Prize is an iconic portrait painting prize that garners  widespread public recognition for the winning artist, as well as a tidy sum of $75,000.  An award that has chronicled the changing face of Australia, it displays notable personalities from politicians to celebrities, to sporting heroes and artists.

This year from the 884 entries, the 55 finalists of the 2014 Archibald Prize can be viewed online here.  Notable mentions from the 55 finalists include Wendy Sharpe, Abdul Abdullah, Sally Ross, Salvatore Zofrea, Peter Daverington, Juan Ford, Mitch Cairns and Fiona Lowry.

In conjunction with the Archibald Prize 2014, this year’s winner of the Packing Room Prize is Tim Storrier for his portrait of Dr Sir Leslie Colin Patterson KCB AO. Selected by Gallery staff the winner receives $1000 and a $500 ANZ Visa gift card.

Storrier commented on the sitting stating “Saville Row tailors say ‘certain men are moving targets’ and Sir Les is no exception. During our long sittings, I attempted to keep him engaged with his tipple and cigarettes. To paint such a dynamic, thrusting personality with the sensitivity that a personage of his flamboyance deserves, I drew on my knowledge of historic portraits of great men of destiny”.

Never one to pass through quietly, the Prize is iconic for its controversy and role in reevaluating the definitions of portraiture. After its conservative start, it was in 1943 that William Dobell’s prize-winning portrait of Joshua Smith broke with the conventions that established the Archibald, sparking furious public debate.

The importance of the award was impressed upon by David Gonski, Chaiman, ANZ. remarking that “Art is a vital part of society that opens the mind, encouraging a different way of thinking, and it’s competitions like the Archibald Prize that play an important role in broadening the appeal of the arts.”

The winners of the Archibald will be announced alongside the Wynne and Sulman this Friday 18 July after 12pm.  Stay tuned for what’s sure to be another provocative selection.

The Archibald Prize 2014
19 July – 28 September
The Art Gallery of NSW

Image 1: Mitch Cairns, Reg Richardson AM, 2014, oil on linen, 122 x 120cm
Image 2: Fiona Lowry, Penelope Seidler, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 225 x 185cm

Courtesy the artists and the Art Gallery of New South Wales

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  1. By Fiona Lowry - Artist Profile on July 16, 2014 at 11:29 am

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