We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of New South Wales stands.

Inside the Archibald Prize

A group of people stand in front of a portrait of a person in a hat and glasses, which is surrounded by small figures wearing hats

Students at the Archibald Prize 2019 exhibition with Marc Etherington Idris Murphy and his dog Wally © the artist

Explore the Archibald Prize for portrait painting, Australia’s favourite and most significant art award.

Since 1921, the Archibald Prize has highlighted figures from all walks of life, from famous faces to local heroes, reflecting back to us the stories of our times.

Judged by the trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the prize is awarded annually to the best portrait, ‘preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia’. An exhibition of works is held at the Art Gallery, and in more recent years has toured to regional venues.

Inside the Archibald Prize brings together the portraits, facts and stories of the prize with supporting strategies for teaching and learning about portraiture across all learning levels. This learning resource is designed to be used in conjunction with a visit to the Archibald Prize exhibition or to support studies in portraiture.

In 2021, we celebrated 100 years of the Archibald Prize with the Archie 100 exhibition and the ABC-TV series Finding the Archibald. Discover more about the history of the prize, along with thought-provoking questions for classroom discussion, in these resources.