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

Yvette Coppersmith Lady Primrose Potter AC

oil on jute

137.3 x 110.3 cm

In 2018, Yvette Coppersmith became the tenth woman to win the Archibald Prize, with a self-portrait referencing George Lambert’s 1922 Archibald self-portrait.

This year, her subject is Primrose Potter, in a portrait commissioned for the University of Melbourne Art Collection to acknowledge the patronage of this long-time philanthropist and arts administrator, and her commitment to the cultural life of Melbourne.

The style of the portrait is informed by Coppersmith’s recent series of abstract paintings inspired by Australian artist Roger Kemp (1908–87), an acclaimed practitioner of modernist abstraction, who was in turn inspired by the 1939 visit of the Ballets Russes to Melbourne. In these paintings, Coppersmith has aimed to create a sense of movement and dynamism. These reference points align with the interests of her sitter, who is a key patron of The Australian Ballet, which in 2010 named its Melbourne headquarters after her.

‘Given her love of ballet, it was a perfect fit to portray her alongside a bronze sculpture of a dancer by [Australian artist] Guy Boyd from her collection,’ says Coppersmith about her seventh Archibald finalist portrait. ‘The yellow walls of Lady Potter’s apartment formed the background colour.’

Listen to label text

Watch Auslan video