Geelong Gallery is delighted to be the exclusive Victorian venue to host the Art Gallery of New South Wales exhibition, Archie 100: A Century of the Archibald Prize, celebrating 100 years of Australia’s oldest and most-loved portrait award and reflecting upon the changing face of our nation.
The exhibition is arranged thematically and delves into the controversies and the commonplace, the triumphant and the thwarted, and honours the artists who have made the Archibald Prize the most sought-after accolade in Australian art today.
“Since its inception, the Archibald Prize has attracted entries from both prominent and emerging artists in Australia and New Zealand, and celebrated figures from all walks of life, from famous faces to local heroes,” said Dr Michael Brand, Art Gallery of NSW Director.
“Archie 100 is an enthralling exploration of some of the key moments in the evolution of the prize, from 1921 to today, and an opportunity to reflect on our shared history and consider how we’ve changed over the course of a century.”
Following many years of research into more than 6,000 works that have been shown in the Archibald to date, and a national public appeal for help to locate lost portraits, Archie 100 features a selection of works from the Art Gallery of NSW collection as well as works from libraries, galleries and museums across Australia and New Zealand, and private Australian and international collections.
Natalie Wilson, Art Gallery of NSW Exhibition curator said Archie 100 includes portraits by a wide range of artists from across Australia and New Zealand and from every decade of the prize. “Each portrait selected for Archie 100 offers an exciting glimpse into a specific moment in time,” she said.
“Together, these works uncover changes in society in engaging ways, enabling people to experience how artistic styles and approaches to portraiture have changed over time, said Ms Wilson.
Following the successful presentation of the 2017 Archibald Prize and 2018 Archibald Prize, Geelong Gallery Director & CEO Jason Smith said “We are pleased to see the Archibald Prize in the form of the Archie 100 return to Geelong over the three months of summer.”
“We look forward to presenting a comprehensive program of events and educational opportunities for the community to engage with artists and sitters alike,” said Mr Smith.
There is a strong local connection between Geelong and the Archibald Prize. Christened John Feltham, Jules Francois Archibald was born in Geelong West on 14 January 1856 and lived in the region, beginning his journalism career in Warrnambool when he was 15 years old.
Furthermore, a number of artists and sitters presented in Archie 100 have connections to the region or are represented in the Geelong Gallery collection.
These connections include Albert Namatjira, Janet Dawson, Sybil Craig, Kate Beynon, George Lambert, John Molvig, Ernest Buckmaster, Del Kathryn Barton, John Brack, John Longstaff, William Dargie, Nora Heysen, William Dobell and Brett Whiteley.
“Following Geelong Gallery’s successful presentation of RONE in Geelong, the City is delighted to support Archie 100 through Geelong Major Events and looks forward to welcoming a forecast 80,000 people to the region,” said City of Greater Geelong Mayor, Stephanie Asher.
“We will continue to work closely with the Geelong Gallery team to support the ongoing cultural and economic recovery of the region.”
The Archibald Prize was established in 1921 from a bequest made by Jules Francois Archibald to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, which now awards $100,000 prize money for the winning artist.
J F Archibald, the founding editor of The Bulletin magazine, was a passionate supporter of a distinctly Australian style of nationalism, journalism and the arts. In establishing the prize his aim was to foster portraiture as well as support artists and perpetuate the memory of great Australians.
According to Archibald’s will – held in the Art Gallery of NSW archive – the Archibald Prize is to be awarded annually to the best portrait “preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia.”
Archie 100: A Century of the Archibald Prize
Geelong Gallery, 55 Little Malop Street, Geelong
Exhibition: Saturday 6 November 2021 to Sunday 20 February 2022
Entry fees apply
For more information, visit: www.geelonggallery.org.au for details
Images: (Left to right) William Dargie, Portrait of Albert Namatjira, 1956, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, purchased 1957 © Estate of William Dargie. Photo: QAGOMA. Tempe Manning, Self-portrait, 1939, private collection © Estate of Tempe Manning.
Following its presentation at Geelong Gallery, Archie 100: A Century of the Archibald Prize will tour to: Cairns Art Gallery, QLD (18 March – 12 June 2022); Art Gallery of South Australia, SA (9 July – 3 October 2022); Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, TAS (24 October 2022 – 8 January 2023); Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, NSW (26 January – 26 March 2023); Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, NT (15 April – 25 June 2023); Home of the Arts, Gold Coast, QLD (15 July – 2 October 2023); and National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, ACT (21 October 2023 – 28 January 2024). For more information, visit: www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au for details.