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Winner: Archibald Prize 1998

Lewis Miller Portrait of Allan Mitelman no 3

oil and charcoal on canvas

213.4 x 183 cm

Lewis Miller has done numerous etchings, drawings and paintings of Allan Mitelman, two of which have hung in the past two Archibald Prizes.

An established Melbourne painter and printmaker known for his non-figurative style, Mitelman taught Miller at the Victorian College of the Arts. They have known each other for over 20 years during which time Mitelman has been “a great friend. He is an extremely nice person,” says Lewis. “I felt it wasn’t enough to do two portraits”, he says. “Three is a good number.”

For his third Archibald portrait of Mitelman, Lewis had originally planned to paint him reclining. “In the first one he was standing, in the second he was sitting so I thought I’d continue the progression”, says Lewis, “but Allan didn’t like that idea. He suggested I add another panel and do a large head. I had never painted a face that large before and had no idea how I was going to do it but I thought it was an interesting idea and that scale is something worth tackling for the Archibald.”

The portrait was both “very difficult and easier than I’d thought,” says Lewis. “I worked the paint very thinly using something like a staining technique and kept a drawn feel with the charcoal lines visible, as in the previous paintings.”

Born in Melbourne in 1959, Lewis Miller studied at the Victorian College of the Arts, later undertaking postgraduate studies there. He has been hung in five previous Archibald exhibitions.