The Archibald Prize for portrait paintingÂ is in the courts again. InÂ 1943, William Dobell’s win was challenged in the basis thatÂ it was a caricature, not a portrait. Now, Craig Ruddy, the 2004 winner, is being challenged on the basis that his was a drawing, not a painting.
I haveÂ a different beef with the Archibald Prize, which is that I think there aren’t enough paintings of seriously famous people. The conditions state that the winner will be the “preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics“. On that criteria, let’s start rejecting paintings whose subjects are obscure Australian artists. Painting your best friend is a very sweet thing to do, but it shouldn’t make its way into the Art Gallery of NSW.