Archie 100: A Century of the Archibald Prize at the National Portrait Gallery
Over the past century, the prestigious Archibald Prize has captured the changing face of our nation, from John Longstaff’s 1935 portrait of bush poet Banjo Paterson to Vincent Namatjira’s winning 2020 portrait of former AFL player Adam Goodes. Archie 100: A Century of the Archibald Prize surveys the history behind the prize, unearthing the stories behind almost 100 artworks.
First shown at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 2021, the exhibition has travelled around the country and on Friday October 20, it will take up residence at Canberra’s National Portrait Gallery until Sunday January 28 next year. The exhibition is the result of years of research into more than 6000 works shown in the Archibald to date, including a national public appeal to assist with locating lost portraits.
Dating back to 1921, the Archibald Prize came about following a bequest from former Art Gallery of New South Wales trustee and founder of the Bulletin magazine JF Archibald. His original aim for the prize was to foster portraiture, support artists and cement the memory of great Australians throughout history.
Archie 100 takes a look at the artists and their subjects over the years, from the commonplace to the controversial, celebrities to unsung heroes, and portraits that have broken the mould and gone against portraiture conventions. At the National Portrait Gallery, several works return to the collection including Nora Heysen’s portrait, Robert H Black, MD and George Lambert’s 1922 Self-Portrait With Gladioli.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery.