Posted by: jkirkby8712 | April 15, 2011

Friday, 15th April 2011 – that Archibald Prize

One of the principal Art Prizes in Australia is the Archibald Prize for portraits, and this year’s winner was announced today. Quite obviously, if I was one of the judges, I would no doubt make a completely different choice to the painting that is generally declared the winner. A picture of the  veteran Australian artist Margaret Olley has won the prestigious Archibald Prize for portraiture in 2011.  The picture by Ben Quilty beat 40 other finalists to the $50,000 prize from more than 800 entrants. Quilty embraced the elderly artist after he was awarded the in Sydney today. Interestingly, he commented in a TV interview this evening, that his biggest disappointment was that she refused his request to pose nude for the portrait. I’m not really quite sure why he would even make such a request, in view of the fact that the portrait only seems to be of the frail 88 year old  woman’s face anyway!  Quilty said he first met Olley when she was a guest judge for the 2002 Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship, which he won. “It’s quite moving to be here today,” he said, adding that Olley had been a “very maternal figure to me, but most of all a friend”. Meanwhile, one rather ‘cruel’ headline, in the ‘Courier Mail’ [Brisbane] headed it’s report of the Award by ‘Portrait of artist, as ‘old bag’ wins’, though in fairness, that was the way Margaret Olley described the painting herself, when she first saw it – “there’s the old bag”, she said!! Anyway, here’s the winning portrait.


Margaret Olley

A portrait of Margaret Olley by artist Ben Quilty is the winner of this year’s Archibald Prize / Courtesy Art Gallery of NSW.

I’ve a look at some of the other entries, and yes, as I suggested, I would probably make a number of other choices, but the judges of these kind of competitions always seem to have a different view of what ‘is best’! Personally, I liked the picture of Jessica Watson, but then I am biased towards the girl is sailed solo around the world, and I think I also prefer a portrait that has a more natural almost photogenic look. Come to think of it, that one looks so real, I wonder if it is a photo!! There’s alsoi a very strange portrait of Aussie runner Cathy Freeman, just not sure how to describe that one. Perhaps I’ll just leave it at that, with the comment, that compared to some of the other finalists, Margaret Olley doesn’t look too bad at all!!! 

Actually, it may not show up on here, but the portrait below is the one I like the most – I heard a story about this subject a few days ago, thouhh the details have slipped my mind – apologies if the picture doesn’t show up.


titled ‘My Jack’ and pained by , by Jenny Sages, must see if I can find any comment about it – another example of a more natural painting. A few others in that category include one of Quenton Bryce, our current Governor General. Would love to be able to display all the finalists on here, just to illustrate the vast genre of different portrait styles that get submitted to this competition.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: