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Annie Smithers is a renowned chef. She owns du Fermier in Trentham, Victoria, a rustic restaurant where she uses fresh, local produce in cuisine inspired by classic French farmhouse cooking. Before that, she ran Annie Smithers Bistrot in the nearby historic town of Kyneton. She is the author of the cookbook Annie’s garden to table.
‘The idea of painting Annie came about when I was sitting around an open fire having a wine with some friends,’ says artist Daniel Butterworth. ‘Conversations started about the Archibald and who I should paint. One friend suggested Annie, a well-known chef in the area, and I thought she would make a good subject. I didn’t know her personally but got in touch to arrange a meeting. I went along with an idea of how I would paint her but Annie is almost completely different to how I imagined her and I realised my initial concept was all wrong.
‘After chatting for a while, Annie mentioned that the bottom line for her is that all her hard work ends up down the toilet. That was the start of her portrait.’
Born in Victoria in 1973, Butterworth has a studio in Kyneton. A figurative artist, he uses images of himself in much of his work to express social, political and personal views. He was a finalist in the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize (2010 and 2013) and the Black Swan Portraiture Prize (2015). This is his first time in the Archibald Prize.