The Archibald Prize is an art competition which awards the best portrait of a person who is distinguished in art, science or politics.
The prize was first awarded in 1921, and today is a coveted art competition that has prize money awarded in the amount of $100,000.
The competition started after J.F. Archibald made a bequest in his name and the competition is now administered by the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The competition aims to support local Australian artists as well as create lasting memories of important Australian figures.
Past winners of the Archibald Prize have included: Yvette Coppersmith (self-portrait), Mitch Cairns (Agatha Gothe-Snape), Louise Hearman (Barry Humphreys), Nigel Milsom (Charles Waterstreet), Fiona Lawry (Penelope Siedler), Del Kathryn Barton (Hugo Weaving), Ben Quilty (Margaret Olley), just to name a few.
To be eligible to compete, the artist must have been resident in Australia or New Zealand for the eligibility period. The artwork itself must be a painting, must be a portrait painted from life, with the subject known to the artist, aware of the artist’s intention and having at least one live sitting with the artist and must not exceed the size limit of 90,000 square cm. The painting may be painted in any medium (such as oil, acrylic, watercolour).
The winner and finalists of the Archibald Prize are displayed in the Art Gallery of New South Wales and many portraits remain in the gallery’s permanent collection.