Record entries for Dobell Drawing Prize

AAR-DDP-Craig-Waddell-35-Days-With-You-2020-(detail)The Dobell Drawing Prize is a $30,000 acquisitive biennial art prize showcasing the expanded field of drawing, presented by the National Art School in Darlinghurst.

This year’s prize received 942 entries, a record since it began in 1993, and 64 works were selected for the finalist exhibition showing from 25 March to 22 May 2021 in the NAS Gallery.

The Dobell Drawing Prize is Australia’s leading exhibition celebrating drawing innovation. Presented in partnership with the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation, the prize explores the enduring importance of drawing within contemporary art practice.

The 2021 winner will be chosen by guest judge Lucy Culliton, former Dobell Drawing Prize finalist and NAS alumna, and will be announced at the exhibition opening on 25 March.

Lucy was also on the finalist selection panel with Michelle Belgiorno (Sir William Dobell Art Foundation Trustee) and Simon Cooper (NAS Head of Studies).

The National Art School first hosted the Dobell Drawing Prize in 2019, judged by artist Ben Quilty, who selected Justine Varga as the winner. The prize was established in 1993 and until 2012 was presented by the Art Gallery of NSW.

Sir William Dobell was born in Newcastle, NSW, in 1899. He moved to Sydney in 1924 to study at the Julian Ashton Art School, where he met many artists who would later teach at the National Art School.

In 1929 he won the Society of Artists Travelling Scholarship and lived in London for ten years, painting and studying at the Slade School of Fine Art.

William Dobell’s two years teaching at the National Art School had a profound effect on his students, who appreciated his love for drawing, and his outstanding draughtsmanship.

For more information about the Dobell Drawing Prize, and the complete list of finalists, visit: for details.

Image: Craig Waddell, 35 Days With You, 2020 (detail). Ink, watercolour, pastel, gouache on paper, 220cm x 220cm – courtesy the artist