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Australian art

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H. Desbrowe Annear

(circa 1921)


W B McInnes


1889 - 1939


W.B. McInnes' portrait of Desbrowe Annear (1865–1933) is significant as winner of the first Archibald Prize in 1921. Winning the prize six more times for his characteristically dark, tonal portraits, McInnes was the pre-eminent artist of the Prize's first decade, and, with John Longstaff, virtually dominated official portraiture. Desbrowe Annear was a well-known Melbourne architect. Primarily a designer of houses, his best known are 32, 34 and 38 The Eyrie, Eaglemont, constructed between 1902 and 1903. Working in a variety of modern styles, Annear sought to create an architecture suited to the climate and geography of Australia.

© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2006

This work was aquired by the Gallery in 1922.



(circa 1921)

Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


107.5 x 104.2 cm

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Gift of the artist 1922


Not on display

Accession number


Archibald Prize

Winner - 1921

Artist information

W B McInnes

Works in the collection


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 10 publications


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Archibald, Wynne & Sulman Prizes for 1978, Sydney, 1978, 10.

Anne Gray, Face: Australian portraits 1880-1960, 'Face: Australian portraits 1880-1960', pg. 15-41, Canberra, 2010, 34.

Anna Waldmann, The Archibald Prize: an illustrated history 1921-1981, Sydney, 1981, 214 (colour illus.).

Susan Hunt, The Archibald Prize 1921-1993, Sydney, 1993, 11 (colour illus.).

Erik Langker, Art Gallery of New South Wales quarterly, 'The Archibald prize', pg. 51-56, Sydney, Jan 1961, cover (illus.), 50, 51.

John Pigot, Norman Macgeorge: man of art, 'An u, p-, Melbourne, 2001, 24 (illus.), 92. 46

Peter Ross, Let's face it: the history of the Archibald Prize, 'The Early Decades', pg. 16-31, Sydney, 1999, 16 (colour illus.), 122 (colour illus.).

Peter Ross, Let's face it: the history of the Archibald Prize, 'Chapter 2: The early decades', pg. 15-37, Sydney, 2005, 14 (colour illus.).

Wendy Symonds (Editor), Look, 'Archibald, Wynne & Sulman Prizes', pg. 16, Heidelberg, Mar 1997, 16 (colour illus.).

Anna Waldmann, Art and Australia (Vol. 20, No. 2), 'The Archibald Prize', pg. 213-236, Sydney, Summer 1982, 214 (colour illus.).