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Enter the Sir John Sulman Prize

Entries for the Sulman Prize 2022 have now closed

No further entries can be accepted.

The information below is provided as a record only.

Sulman Prize

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.

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, the artist must comply with all entry instructions and conditions.

Key dates

  • Date of work: 1 April 2020 – 1 April 2022
  • Eligibility period: resident in Australia 1 April 2017 – 1 April 2022
  • Delivery of entries BY COURIER: 8am – 4pm, 21–25 March 2022
  • Delivery of entries BY ARTIST OR REPRESENTATIVE OR COURIER: 8am – 4pm, 28 March – 1 April 2022
  • Collection of works not selected EXCEPT if sending courier: 8am – 4pm, 9–20 May 2022 (Monday to Friday only)
  • Collection of works not selected IF sending courier: your courier company will be advised
  • Collection of works selected for Sulman Prize: selected artists to be advised
  • Finalists announced: 5 May 2022
  • Winner announced: 13 May 2022
  • Sulman Prize 2022 exhibition: 14 May – 28 August 2022

Important information about delivery

Due to changed conditions on Art Gallery Road, there may be heavy traffic and delays getting to the delivery dock as well as increased pressure on parking in the area.

See Questions about artwork delivery

Instructions and conditions


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

In any year, the artist 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.

The Gallery recommends each artist maintains their own insurance for packing and transit to and from the Gallery. Whilst the works are in the care, custody or control of the Gallery, the Gallery will provide cover in accordance with the NSW Treasury Managed Fund Statement of Cover. Cover will commence upon receipt of delivery at the Gallery until such time as the work is collected or returned after the exhibition or any subsequent exhibition tour (if applicable).

Exhibiting the work

The artist grants the Gallery permission to display the work in an exhibition of selected finalists for the Sulman Prize 2022 at the Gallery or such other venue as the Trustees may in their absolute discretion determine (see Key Dates above).

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

Selected artists 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 artist warrants that the work is their original work and does not infringe the copyright, moral rights or other rights of any third party.

Licensing the work

If the artist is selected as a finalist, the artist grants to the Gallery a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual licence to reproduce (including photograph) the work in material form, publish and communicate the work to the public for the following purposes, and anything incidental to such purposes: marketing, publicity, educational, publication (for sale or otherwise) and archival uses of the Gallery in relation to the prize and its exhibition in all media, including electronic/digital, broadcasting and print media.

The licence above includes the right to sublicense to the Gallery’s touring partners (if applicable) and sponsors in accordance with its agreements with those persons.

Any merchandising rights (other than publications) are not included in the licence and would be agreed separately.

It is the artist’s responsibility, not the Gallery’s, to advise any purchaser of the work, or rights in the work, of these licensed rights.

Moral rights

The Gallery will attribute the artist when exhibiting, reproducing or publishing the work or communicating the work to the public, unless it is reasonable in all the circumstances not to do so, or the artist has consented in writing, and the Gallery will use its reasonable endeavours to ensure that touring partners and sponsors do the same. The artist consents to the display of the work, including in relation to any other work in relation to the exhibition, tour (if applicable) and the prize.

The Gallery will generally reproduce the work in full. However, details of the work may be used under the licence above at the Gallery’s discretion, and the artist consents to any such use. The Gallery will not make other material changes to the work without the prior written consent of the artist, unless it is reasonable in all the circumstances to do so, and will use its reasonable endeavours to ensure that touring partners and sponsors do the same.

Selection of works

The finalists and winner for the Sulman Prize are judged by an artist selected by the Trustees. The 2022 judge is Joan Ross.

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 approximately 12 noon on the same day: see Key Dates above. These artists will be advised beforehand.

An artist 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 artist 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.

For artists sending couriers for pickup, collection will be from an offsite location during a period specified by the Gallery. These works cannot be collected until notified by the Gallery. The Gallery will contact the nominated courier with this information.

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

If the artist does not collect 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 email or post to the artist at the last known address or by placing a notice on the Gallery website 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 artist. 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 artist in respect of the work so destroyed or disposed of.

Force majeure

Where, for any reason beyond the reasonable control of the Gallery (including, for example, earthquake; flood; fire; act of God; terrorism; pandemic; government directions, orders or regulations; labour strikes or other emergency event), the Gallery is prevented or materially hindered from holding the competition or an exhibition of works at the Gallery then it may vary, postpone or cancel the competition by notice in writing to that effect to the artists and by a notice on its website.