Archibald Prize in Tweed Gallery

One of the most popular exhibitions in Australia, the Archibald Prize 2011, is now showing at Tweed River Gallery.


"The last time we had the Archibald Prize on display in 2006," said gallery director Susi Muddiman. "Visitors came from afar to view this fabulous exhibition. Galleries are on a strict schedule and are only able to host the exhibition once every five years.

"So needless to say, we have been looking forward to this event for a long time."

The origins of the Archibald Prize date back to 1900 when the then editor of Bulletin magazine Jules Francois Archibald commissioned John Longstaff to paint a portrait of the poet Henry Lawson. Archibald was apparently so impressed the work that he left money in his will to the Trustees of the Art Gallery New South Wales to establish an annual portrait art prize.

Since the inception of the Archibald Prize in 1921, the exhibition has continued to foster the art of portraiture and chronicle the faces of the nation.

In 2011, the 90th anniversary of the Prize, the Archibald is still one of Australia’s most coveted art awards.

"The primary focus of the Tweed River Art Gallery’s collection is portraiture, and we hold many works by Archibald winners and finalists in our permanent collection," Ms Muddiman said.

The gallery will display the work of 40 Archibald finalists from 2011, with only one work from the exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales deemed to be too fragile to travel.

The winner of the Archibald Prize 2011 is Ben Quilty, for his charismatic portrait of artist Margaret Olley. Quilty met Olley when she was a guest judge for the 2002 Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship, which he won.

The exhibition will be on show until September 11.

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