'Archie 100: A Century of the Archibald Prize' on view at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery

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'Archie 100: A Century of the Archibald Prize' on view at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery
Josonia Palaitis, The Honourable John Howard, MP, 1979, oil on linen, 186 x 186 cm, collection of the artist © Josonia Palaitis.

BATHURST.- The Art Gallery of New South Wales landmark exhibition Archie 100: A Century of the Archibald Prize was one of 2021’s most highly anticipated exhibitions, marking the 100th anniversary of Australia’s oldest and most-loved portrait award with an exploration of 100 works drawn from the prize’s history.

Now there’s an opportunity for New South Wales audiences to experience this momentous exhibition during the Archie 100 tour to the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery in Bathurst NSW, open for two months from 26 January to 26 March 2023.

Bathurst Mayor, Councillor Robert Taylor says, “We are delighted to be the exclusive NSW destination for the Archie 100 tour and invite visitors to come and see the show and to explore all that our region has to offer.

“The local community are incredibly proud of Bathurst’s rich cultural heritage, wine and food scene, incredible natural beauty, stunning landscapes, and charming villages. We can't wait to welcome you to experience it for yourself.

“Just three hours from Sydney, Bathurst presents a perfect weekend away with plenty on offer for those who have time to linger.”

First awarded in 1921, the Archibald Prize was established following a bequest from former Art Gallery of NSW trustee and founder of The Bulletin magazine, JF Archibald [1856-1919], whose aim was to foster portraiture, support artists and perpetuate the memory of great Australians.

The open competition, which is judged by the trustees of the Gallery, 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’.

To mark a century of the Archibald Prize with a timely reflection on the changing face of our nation, Archie 100 involved years of extensive research into the more than 6,000 works shown since its inception, and a national public appeal for help to locate lost portraits.

Arranged thematically, the selected works speak to the rich history of the Archibald Prize – celebrating its steadfastness through good times and bad, shining a light on its controversies, and honouring the many artists – both triumphant and thwarted, who have made the Archie the most sought-after accolade in Australian art history.

The exhibition includes a multifaceted selection of Archibald portraits from 1921 to 2021, drawn from the Art Gallery of New South Wales collection and from libraries, galleries and museums across Australia and New Zealand, in addition to private Australian and international collections.

Archie 100 Curator Natalie Wilson remarked, “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. Visitors can expect to see and discover stories of renowned portraits of identities from the past century, alongside magnificent portraits of intriguing characters whose names have today been forgotten.”

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