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Enter the Sir John Sulman Prize

Entries for the Sulman Prize 2019 have now closed

No further entries can be accepted. Finalists announced 2 May

Value $40,000

The Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales invite artists to submit works in competition for the Sir John Sulman Prize 2019.

The prize will be awarded, in the terms of the gift of the family of the late Sir John Sulman, to the best subject/genre painting and/or mural/mural project done by an artist resident in Australia during the five years preceding the date fixed by the Trustees for sending in entries and that the painting and/or mural/mural project was executed during the two years preceding the date so fixed.

To be considered for selection, a competitor must comply with all entry instructions and conditions.

Key dates

  • Date of work: must be completed 5 April 2017 – 5 April 2019
  • Eligibility period: resident in Australia 5 April 2014 – 5 April 2019
  • Delivery of entries: 8am-4pm, 1-5 April 2019
  • Collection of works not selected (EXCEPT if sending courier): 8am-4pm, 6-17 May 2019
  • Collection of works selected for the Sulman Prize: selected artists to be advised
  • Finalists announced: 2 May 2019
  • Winner announced: 10 May 2019
  • Sulman Prize 2019 exhibition: 11 May – 8 September 2019

Instructions and conditions


The artist must have been resident in Australia for the eligibility period: see Key Dates above.

In any year, a competitor may enter one work only. This does not prevent the artist entering other works in other competitions such as the Wynne or Archibald Prizes.

The work

  • Must be a genre painting, subject painting or mural project. A genre painting is normally a composition representing some aspect or aspects of everyday life, and may feature figurative, still-life, interior or figure-in-landscape themes. A subject painting, in contrast, is idealised or dramatised. Typically, a subject painting takes its theme from history, poetry, mythology or religion. In both cases, however, the style may be figurative, representative, abstract or semi-abstract. A mural is a picture fixed directly to a wall or ceiling as part of an architectural and/or decorative scheme.
  • Must be larger than 76.2 × 60.9 cm or 4640 square cm but less than 90,000 square cm (eg 3 × 3 m, 1.5 × 6 m) if a subject/genre painting. Exhibition wall height is 3.4 m, floor to ceiling.
  • Must be in the form of a colour scale design in any media and less than 150 × 100 cm if a mural, and accompanied by a photograph of the mural site.
  • May be a multi-panel work as long as the overall dimensions are within the size limits above.
  • May be in oil, watercolour, acrylic or mixed media.
  • All dimensions given apply to the actual work of art, not the mounting or frame.

Preparing the work for delivery

  • Must be suitably framed for handling. A stretched canvas is considered a suitable frame.
  • Must be clearly marked on the back with the artist’s name and address and the title of the work.
  • Must be accompanied by a photograph of the assembled work and clear instructions for its installation IF it is a multi-panelled work
  • Must NOT be wet when submitted.
  • Must NOT include any hanging devices such as hooks or wires. These must be removed as they can damage other works and the Gallery has its own hanging system.
  • One copy of the completed entry form must be attached to the back of the work.
  • If using a courier, a second copy of the completed entry form must be put in an envelope and also attached to the back of the work. If delivering yourself, the second copy can just be handed in with the work.

Delivering your entry

The work must be accompanied by printouts of the completed entry form.

Entries will only be accepted during the specified period (see Key Dates above) via the delivery dock at the rear of the building of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery Road, Sydney NSW 2000 Australia.

Delivery must be made in person, by a nominated representative (such as a friend, relative or artist’s agent) or by a courier/freight company.

The Gallery will NOT pay for any costs incurred in the delivery of any entry, including freight.

Each competitor is responsible for maintaining their own insurance.

Neither the Trustees nor the Gallery will be responsible for any loss or damage whatsoever, and however caused, to any work while in the Gallery’s custody.

Exhibiting the work

The competitor grants the Gallery permission to display the work in an exhibition of selected finalists for the Sulman Prize 2019 at the Gallery or such other venue as the Trustees may in their absolute discretion determine (see Key Dates above).

It is the competitor’s responsibility to ensure that the original work is available for these purposes, whether or not they are the owner of the work.

Selected competitors agree to make themselves available for the purposes of exhibition-related events, promotion and publicity at times and dates and in places reasonably requested by the Gallery.

Original and non-infringing work

The competitor warrants that the work is original and does not infringe the copyright, moral rights or other rights of any third party.

Licensing the work

The finalist grants to the Gallery a non-exclusive licence to reproduce the work in material form, to photograph, publish and/or communicate it to the public for prize-related purposes, and anything incidental to such purposes, by the Gallery and sponsors, including marketing, publicity, educational and publication uses for the Gallery, the prize and its exhibition in all media, including but not limited to electronic/digital, broadcasting and print media, in perpetuity.

Permission to so reproduce the work must be conveyed by the artist to any purchaser of the work.

Where reasonable, the Gallery will attribute the artist as the author of the work and reproduce the work in full. Details of the work may be used at the Gallery’s discretion.

Selection of works

The finalists and winner for the Sulman Prize are judged by an artist selected by the Trustees. The 2019 judge is Fiona Lowry.

The winner of the Sulman Prize receives payment of $40,000.

The prize is NOT acquisitive (ie the work does NOT automatically enter the Art Gallery of New South Wales collection).

The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence shall be entered into.

Finalists and the prize winner will be announced to the media and published on the Gallery website at approx 12 noon on the same day: see Key Dates above. These artists will be advised beforehand.

Artists whose work is chosen for display will be asked to provide additional information (such as biographical details and a statement about the work) to assist with preparation of prize-related material.

Collecting the work

The competitor is responsible for organising the collection of their work during the time period specified by the Gallery (see Key Dates above) and must indicate on the entry form how the work will be collected. These are the ONLY options available for the return of works. There will be NO returns by Australia Post.

Competitors sending couriers for pickup must wait for notification from the Gallery before collecting the work, which will be from an offsite location.

The Gallery will NOT pay for any costs incurred in the collection of any entry.

If any competitor does not retrieve a work, the Gallery will give one month’s notice of the Trustees’ intention to sell or otherwise dispose of the work, by sending a notice by post to the competitor at the last known address or by placing a newspaper advertisement if no address is known. The Trustees may then sell the work and, after deducting from the proceeds the costs of and incidental to the sale, shall hold any balance for the competitor. If, however, it is the opinion of the Trustees that the work is unsaleable then the Trustees may destroy or otherwise dispose of it in any manner they deem fit and shall be under no liability whatsoever to the competitor in respect of the work so destroyed or disposed of.

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