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Winner: Archibald Prize 1985

Guy Warren Flugelman with Wingman

oil on canvas

231 x 180 cm

Born in 1921, the inaugural year of the Archibald Prize, Guy Warren left school in Goulburn aged 14 and started work as an assistant proofreader on The Bulletin in Sydney. He trained briefly under JS Watkins in his Sydney studio. Warren began drawing seriously during service in Bougainville in World War II and subsequently studied at Sydney Technical College (now the National Art School) under the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Training Scheme. Further study in London followed.

In 1985, Viennese-born sculptor Bert Flugelman (1923–2013) – Warren’s friend, neighbour and colleague at the University of Sydney’s Tin Sheds Art Workshop – challenged him to enter the Archibald, with each artist painting a portrait of the other. Flugelman’s portrait wasn’t accepted that year, but he did have six works in the Archibald between 1950 and 1965. Flugelman is celebrated for his monumental stainless-steel public sculptures, including Sydney’s Pyramid tower and the 20-metre-long Cones in Canberra.

Flugelman with Wingman was then-64-year-old Warren’s first Archibald entry, and winning the prize allowed him to paint full time. The motif of a ‘wingman’ was inspired by hang-gliders he observed in the country, and the myth of Icarus who flew too close to the sun, melting his feather-and-wax wings. Warren explained, ‘It’s about taking risks, taking chances, and escaping’.

The portrait is now in the University of Wollongong Art Collection.