First-time Archibald Prize entrant Betina Fauvel-Ogden has won the prestigious Packing Room Prize with her portrait of renowned chef, restaurateur and 'MasterChef Australia' judge, George Calombaris.
The oil on linen portrait of the celebrity chef was among 51 Archibald finalists, selected from 830 entries, which were also announced on Thursday morning.
First awarded in 1921, The Archibald is an annual exhibition (shown in conjunction with The Wynne and Sulman Prizes) featuring portrait paintings of 'preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics'.
Often described as the artistic 'who's who' of Australian culture, it's little wonder the exhibition is one of Australia's favourites, though some have questioned whether the quality of the works are deserving of the public's continuing adoration. (To this, we say 'bah, humbug'. The Archibald Prize is awesome.)
The Packing Room Prize is considered as a type of precursor to the main event, and is given to the best entry as judged by the gallery staff who receive, unpack and hang the entries. (Though the head of the Art Gallery of New South Wales packing room, Steve Peters, ultimately gets the final say with 51 percent of the vote.)
"I was always interested in George Calombaris as a subject as I felt there was an intensity to his character," Fauvel-Ogden said after winning the $1500 cash prize.
"After eight months pursuing him, George gave up his valuable time to allow me three sittings. I wanted to paint him in his chef's white jacket and black apron. In choosing the pose, George felt most comfortable with his hands on his hips. I kept the lighting simple and focused on capturing the determination in his eyes.
"I had always envisaged a vibrant yellow background for the portrait. When George gave me his cookbook Greek with its bold yellow cover, as a gift at the first sitting, that clinched it."
"It is a very strong portrait. George Calombaris is looking directly at you. He means business," Peters added. "I'm hoping George will cook me a burger next time I am in Melbourne." (Hint, hint, George).
With the announcement of the Archibald finalists and Fauvel-Ogden's win also came the confirmed finalists for the Wynne and Sulman Prizes, as well as the finalists for the Young Archie competition.
Portrait subjects featured in the 2016 Archibald include Indigenous Australian model Samantha Harris (above), Wendy Whiteley, Barry Humphries and Ken Done, as well as 11 self-portraits.
The open competition is judged by the trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW, and fetches a handsome $100,000 prize.
Check out all 51 finalists in the slide show below.
- Abdul Abdullah, 'The Cost'Gallery of New South Wales
- Alan Jones, 'Pat'Gallery of New South Wales
- Belynda Henry, 'Louise Olsen, a beautiful summary'Gallery of New South Wales
- Benjamin Aitken, 'Portrait of mentor (Jon Cattapan and self)'Gallery of New South Wales
- Betina Fauvel-Ogden 'George Colambaris, masterchef'Gallery of New South Wales
- Camillo De Luca, 'Polymath'Gallery of New South Wales
- Carla Fletcher, 'Twin souls, Linda Jackson'Gallery of New South Wales
- Chris Bond, 'The restless dead (portrait of the artist)'Gallery of New South Wales
- Chris Browne, 'Krista'Gallery of New South Wales
- Clara Adolphs, 'Terry Serio'Gallery of New South Wales
- Danelle Bergstrom, 'Guy Warren'Gallery of New South Wales
- Daniel Butterworth, 'Annie Smithers'Gallery of New South Wales
- David Fairbairn, 'Large head JL no 3'Gallery of New South Wales
- David Griggs, 'It's a G thang'Gallery of New South Wales
- Dean Brown, 'McLean Edwards'Gallery of New South Wales
- Dean Manning, 'Maximum Lawrence'Gallery of New South Wales
- Guan Wei, 'Plastic surgery'Gallery of New South Wales
- Guy Maestri, 'Shattered (Griggs)'Gallery of New South Wales
- Heidi Yardley, 'Birth/death – portrait of Nell'Gallery of New South Wales
- Imants Tillers, 'Double reality self-portrait 2014–2016'Gallery of New South Wales
- India Mark, 'Day at the gallery with Dane Taylor'Gallery of New South Wales
- Juan Ford, 'Regaining sight (a meditation on Rose Soady)'Gallery of New South Wales
- Kate Beynon, 'Claudia, Spartacus and the robots'Gallery of New South Wales
- Kristy Neilson, 'There's no humour in darkness'Gallery of New South Wales
- Lewis Miller, 'Portrait of Bernie Teague'Gallery of New South Wales
- Louise Hearman, 'Barry'Gallery of New South Wales
- Lucy Culliton, 'Lucy and fans'Gallery of New South Wales
- Marc Etherington, 'King Ken (Ken Done in his studio)'Gallery of New South Wales
- Marcus Wills, 'The ersatz (James Batchelor)'Gallery of New South Wales
- Marie Mansfield, 'Study of Euan Macleod'Gallery of New South Wales
- Marikit Santiago, 'Blacklustre'Gallery of New South Wales
- Mark Horton, 'Troy'Gallery of New South Wales
- Melissa Ritchie, 'Rhys smart mouth'Gallery of New South Wales
- Michael McWilliams, 'The usurpers (self-portrait)'Gallery of New South Wales
- Mirra Whale, 'Philip Nitschke'Gallery of New South Wales
- Monica Rohan, 'Easton Pearson'Gallery of New South Wales
- Natasha Bieniek, 'Wendy Whiteley'Gallery of New South Wales
- Natasha Walsh ,'Self-portrait'Gallery of New South Wales
- Nicholas Harding, 'Peter Weiss AO'Gallery of New South Wales
- Nick Mourtzakis 'Self-portrait: in violet'Gallery of New South Wales
- Nick Stathopoulos, 'Deng'Gallery of New South Wales
- Peter Wegner, 'John Wolseley'Gallery of New South Wales
- Prudence Flint, 'Shower'Gallery of New South Wales
- Rosemary Valadon 'The Scribbler (Luke Sciberras)'Gallery of New South Wales
- Sally Ross, 'Roslyn'Gallery of New South Wales
- Sinead Davies, 'Toni Zeltzer'Gallery of New South Wales
- Tony Albert, 'Tony Albert (after Brownie Downing)'Gallery of New South Wales
- Tsering Hannaford, 'Self portrait with magnolia'Gallery of New South Wales
- William Rhodes, 'Alice'Gallery of New South Wales
- Yvette Coppersmith, 'Rose Burn self-portrait'Gallery of New South Wales
- Zoe Young, 'Sam Harris'Gallery of New South Wales
The 2016 Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes will be on display at The Gallery of New South Wales from 16 Jul – 9 Oct 2016. You can buy your tickets here.