The Archibald Prize is 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’.
This open competition is judged by the trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW. Finalists are displayed in an exhibition at the Gallery (although in the early years all entrants were hung). Although it is a non-acquisitive prize, several of the entries are now part of the Gallery’s collection.
The Archibald Prize was first awarded in 1921. In establishing the prize, JF Archibald’s aim was to foster portraiture as well as support artists and perpetuate the memory of great Australians. Over the years some of Australia’s most prominent artists have entered and the subjects have been equally celebrated in their fields.
Entries in the Archibald Prize are also eligible for the following prizes.
Packing Room Prize
First awarded in 1991 and chosen by the Gallery staff who receive, unpack and hang the entries, with 51 per cent of the vote going to the Gallery’s storeman, Steve Peters
First awarded in 1988 and voted for by the public visiting the Archibald exhibition