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Sir John Sulman Prize

The Sulman Prize is awarded for the best subject painting, genre painting or mural project by an Australian artist.

A genre painting is normally a composition representing some aspect or aspects of everyday life, and may feature figurative, still-life, interior or figure-in-landscape themes. A subject painting, in contrast, is idealised or dramatised. Typically, a subject painting takes its theme from history, poetry, mythology or religion. In both cases, however, the style may be figurative, representative, abstract or semi-abstract.

A mural is a picture fixed directly to a wall or ceiling as part of an architectural and/or decorative scheme.

Established within the terms of Sir John Sulman’s bequest, the prize was first awarded in 1936. Each year the trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW invite a guest artist to judge this open competition. Finalists are displayed in an exhibition at the Gallery (although in the early years all entrants were hung).

How to enter

Explore past winners and finalists

Sulman 2004 finalists Allan Mitelman untitled
Sulman 2003 finalists Eric John Smith Refelection
Sulman 2002 finalists Guan Wei Gazing into deep space no. 9
Sulman 2001 finalists Euan MacLeod Exquisite Corpse with Fire
Sulman 2000 finalists John Peart Snailsnake
Sulman 1999 finalists Anne Wallace Secret paintings
Sulman 1998 finalists Robert Jacks Changed into a weeping willow
Sulman 1997 finalists Kevin Connor The man with itchy fingers and other figures -...
Sulman 1996 finalists Aida Tomescu Grey to grey
Sulman 1995 finalists Juli Haas By the Banks of Her Own Lagoon
Sulman 1994 finalists Noel McKenna Boy Dressed as Batman 2
Sulman 1993 finalists John Montefiore Life Series
Sulman 1991/92 finalists Kevin Connor Najaf (Iraq) June 1991
Sulman 1990 finalists Robert Hollingworth Going away/Looking back
Sulman 1989 finalists John Olsen Don Quixote Enters the Inn
Sulman 1988 finalists Bob Marchant Catching rabbits and yabbies at 5 Mile Dam
Sulman 1987 finalists Marcus Beilby Crutching the Ewes
Sulman 1986 finalists Wendy Sharpe Black sun - morning to night
Sulman 1985 finalists Victor Morrison Western Suburbs Magi
Sulman 1984 finalists Tim Storrier The Burn
Sulman 1983 finalists Nigel Thomson Marat, the Unsophisticated will be Shocked at t...
Sulman 1982 finalists Salvatore Zofrea Psalm 24
Sulman 1981 finalists William Delafield Cook A French Family
Sulman 1980 finalists Brian Dunlop The Old Physics Building
Sulman 1979 finalists Salvatore Zofrea The Water Trap
Sulman 1978 finalists Brett Whiteley The Yellow Nude
Sulman 1977 finalists Salvatore Zofrea Woman's life woman's love 3
Sulman 1976 finalists Brett Whiteley Interior with time past
Sulman 1975 finalists Alan Oldfield Transvestite (for Diane Arbus)
Sulman 1974 finalists Keith Looby Still Life and Comfy II
Sulman 1973 finalists Eric John Smith The painter transmogrified and Mrs Smith
Sulman 1972 finalists Peter Powditch Sun-torso 128 (Bunch)
Sulman 1971 finalists James Meldrum Pyramid Shelf
Sulman 1970 finalists Michael Kmit Philopena
Sulman 1969 finalists Louis James Spy-hole
Sulman 1968 finalists Tim Storrier Suzy 350
Sulman 1967 finalists Cec Burns Exercise in variegation
Sulman 1966 finalists Louis James It's hot in town
Sulman 1965 finalists Gareth Jones-Roberts Grape-pickers and Vineyards
Sulman 1964 finalists Ken Reinhard The Private Public Preview
Sulman 1963 finalists Roy Fluke Spring Walk
Sulman 1962 finalists John Thomas Rigby Children dancing
Sulman 1961 finalists Robin Norling Sea Movement and Rocks
Sulman 1960 finalists Leonard French The Burial
Sulman 1959 finalists Susan Wright The Circus
Sulman 1958 finalists No award
Sulman 1957 finalists Michael Kmit The Voice of Silence
Sulman 1956 finalists Harold Greenhill Prawning at Night
Sulman 1955 finalists Wesley Penberthy Oriental Mural
Sulman 1954 finalists Wallace Thornton Sculptor and Model
Sulman 1953 finalists Eric John Smith "Convicts, Berrima, 1839" Mural, Old Court Hous...
Sulman 1952 finalists Charles Doutney Darlinghurst Road
Sulman 1951 finalists Douglas S Annand Mural - Restaurant R.M.S. "Oronsay" (in Situ)
Sulman 1950 finalists Harold Greenhill Summer Holiday
Sulman 1949 finalists Jack Carington Smith Mural for New State Building, Tasmania: "Bush P...
Sulman 1948 finalists Sali Herman The Drovers
Sulman 1947 finalists Douglas S Annand Mural "in situ", Messrs. Jantzen (Aust.) Pty. L...
Sulman 1946 finalists Sali Herman Natives Carrying Wounded Soldiers
Sulman 1945 finalists Virgil Lo Schiavo "Tribute to Shakespeare"
Sulman 1944 finalists Jean Bellette Iphigenia in Tauris
Sulman 1943 finalists Elaine Haxton Photographs of Murals at Le Coq Der Restaurant...
Sulman 1942 finalists Jean Bellette For whom the bell tolls
Sulman 1941 finalists Douglas S Annand Set of Historical murals - painted in oils on p...
Sulman 1940 finalists Harold Abbott Vaucluse Interior
Sulman 1939 finalists Gert Sellheim Mural decoration on wall of Victorian Governmen...
Sulman 1938 finalists Charles Meere Atalanta's Eclipse
Sulman 1937 finalists No award
Sulman 1936 finalists Henry Aloysius Hanke La Gitana