After three years of touring, the landmark exhibition Archie 100: A Century of the Archibald Prize is set to land at the National Portrait Gallery later this year.
The exhibition explores the rich history of the much-loved Archibald Prize, unearthing fascinating stories behind almost 100 carefully selected artworks.
First presented at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 2021 as part of its 150th birthday celebrations, the exhibition has been travelling since.
As a result of years worth of research, examining more than 6000 works, as well as a national public appeal to locate lost portraits, Archie 100 features a selection of works from libraries, galleries and museums across Australia and New Zealand, and private Australian and international collections.
"Each portrait selected for Archie 100 offers an exciting glimpse into a specific moment in time. 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," exhibition curator and Art Gallery of NSW curator of Australian art, Natalie Wilson said.
"Visitors can expect to see and discover stories of renowned portraits of identities from the past century, magnificent portraits of intriguing characters whose names have today been forgotten, and works that have not been seen in public since first being exhibited in the Archibald Prize."
The exhibition delves into the controversies and the commonplace, the triumphant and the thwarted, and honours the artists who have made the Archibald Prize one of the most sought-after accolades in Australian art today.
National Portrait Gallery director Bree Pickering said it was fitting that this exhibition concludes at the portrait gallery.
"Archie 100 is a wonderful insight into the history of this much-loved and long-running portrait prize, and we are pleased to present it here at the home of Australian portraiture," she said.
"Every portrait has been carefully selected and researched by curator Natalie Wilson, and the exhibition presents significant examples of Australian portraiture. It is also a rich record of the characters, artists and people who have shaped our shared history over the past century.
"We are also pleased to welcome home several works from the gallery's collection, including Nora Heysen's work of Robert H Black, MD and George Lambert's self-portrait with gladioli which have been travelling around Australia as part of the tour."
First awarded in 1921, the Archibald Prize was established following a bequest from former Art Gallery of NSW trustee and The Bulletin magazine founder, J.F. Archibald, whose aim was to foster portraiture, support artists and perpetuate the memory of great Australians.
The open competition, which is judged by Art Gallery of NSW trustees, has been awarded annually (with two exceptions: 1964 and 1980) to the best portrait, "preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in arts, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia".
Archie 100: A Century of the Archibald Prize will be at the National Portrait Gallery from October 20 to January 28.
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