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Winner: Archibald Prize 1981

Eric John Smith Rudy Komon

oil on canvas

180 x 166 cm

Eric Smith’s portrait of his dealer, gallery owner Rudy Komon (1908–1982), won the Archibald Prize for 1981. When it was discovered that there were similarities between the winning portrait and a photograph of Komon dating from 1974, artist John Bloomfield, whose 1975 award had been withdrawn on the grounds that his portrait of Tim Burstall was painted directly from a magazine photograph, subsequently sued for the return of the prize. The case was dismissed on 23 September 1983.

Smith’s winning portrait of Komon is now in the collection of the Art Gallery of NSW. Smith had exhibited an earlier portrait of Komon in the 1973 Archibald Prize.