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By Sarah Ward
July 06, 2021
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By Sarah Ward
July 06, 2021
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Every year for the past century, the Archibald Prize has recognised exceptional works of portraiture by Australian artists. In 2021, from a field of 52 finalists, the coveted award has gone to Melbourne-based artist Peter Wegner for Portrait of Guy Warren at 100.

A unanimous decision by this year's judges, Wegner's portrait of the centenarian and fellow artist obviously won the gong in a fitting year. "Guy Warren turned 100 in April — he was born the same year the Archibald Prize was first awarded in 1921," Wegner said. "This is not why I painted Guy, but the coincidence is nicely timed."

Wegner's win came after an equal number of works from both male and female artists made the finalists list for the first time in Archibald history — and plenty of these pieces are now on display at the Art Gallery of NSW. Until Sunday, September 26, Sydneysiders can head to the gallery to scope out the best portraits from this year's entrants, as well as entries and winners for the Wynne and Sir John Sulman prizes, too.

Yolŋu painter and printmaker Nyapanyapa Yunupiŋu took out the former this year, with the Wynne Prize awarding the best landscape painting of Australian scenery or figure sculpture. The artist won for Garak – night sky, a piece represents Djulpan, the Seven Sisters star clusters that are also known as Pleiades.

Winner Wynne Prize 2021. Nyapanyapa Yunupiŋu. Garak – night sky. © the artist. Photo: AGNSW, Mim Stirling.

The Sir John Sulman Prize goes to the best mural, subject or genre painting, and was this year awarded to Georgia Spain for Getting down or falling up. Limbs feature heavily in the piece, which was selected as the winner from 21 finalists by fellow artist Elisabeth Cummings.

Across the three prizes, 2144 entries were received this year — the second-highest number ever after 2020. And, the three prizes received the highest-ever number of entries from Indigenous artists.

If you don't agree with the judges, you can cast your own vote for People's Choice, which will be announced on Wednesday, September 1.

Top image: Winner Archibald Prize 2021. Peter Wegner, Portrait of Guy Warren at 100. © the artist. Photo: AGNSW, Jenni Carter.

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