Ben Quilty wins Archibald Prize with portrait of Margaret Olley
Friday 15 April 2011
The 90th edition of Australia's prestigious Archibald Prize for portraits has been awarded to Sydney-born artist Ben Quilty.
When Quilty first asked the Mosman Art Prize-winning artist Margaret Olly to sit for him, she denied, saying that no one would want to see a portrait of her.
Quilty eventually convinced the inspirational artist to sit for him, and chose the striking colors he saw in her home studio to create his winning portrait.
"She's vigorously passionate about social and political issues, as well as art, and is enormously compassionate," said Quilty of his subject.
"Margaret has such an infectious attitude to both life and death. Recently, I was amazed at how many new works she had on the go. She said to me, 'I'm like an old tree dying and setting forth flowers as fast as it can, while it still can.' I thought that was such a powerful metaphor."
Archibald finalist Vincent Fantauzzo was awarded the Packing Room Prize for his portrait of celebrity chef Matt Moran last week.
Since its inception in 1921, the Archibald Prize has been awarded to some of Australia's most important artists, including George Lambert, William Dobell and Brett Whiteley.
There were 798 Archibald entries, 810 Wynne entries and 633 Sulman entries submitted for this year's prizes.
An exhibition of works entered into the Archibald, Wynne & Sulman Prizes will go on display at the Art Gallery of NSW from April 16 to June 26 before touring regional Australia through 2011 and 2012.
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