Peter Wegner wins 2021 Archibald Prize

June 9, 2021

Melbourne artist Peter Wegner has won the 2021 Archibald Prize with his portrait of fellow Archibald Prize winning artist, Guy Warren, titled Portrait of Guy Warren at 100.

Winner Archibald Prize 2021 Peter Wegner ‘Portrait of Guy Warren at 100’ oil on canvas, 120.5 x 151.5 cm © the artist. Photo: AGNSW, Felicity Jenkins. Sitter: Guy Warren.

Wegner is awarded $100,000 as a result of an unanimous decision made by the judging panel, the Art Gallery of New South Wales Trustees. This year the prize received 938 entries; the second highest amount of entries in the history of the prize.

Coincidentally, Wegner’s subject Warren is a centenarian, as is the Archibald Prize itself, which had its inaugural exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1921.

Warren won the Archibald Prize back in 1985 for his portrait of artist Bert Flugelman. Peter Wegner accepted the award via livestream from Melbourne. Mr Warren was present at the Art Gallery of New South Wales for the announcement, and in his charming speech he described Wegner as “A damn good painter”.

“I have been working on a series of drawings of people who have turned 100 and this was initially the reason l approached Guy. I have been aware of his work for many years, especially the portrait that won the 1985 Archibald. I chose to paint him because he is one of the most remarkable centenarians l have ever met. He still finds purpose in working in his studio daily, one of the traits he attributes to his longevity.” Wegner said.

2021 is also a record breaking year for women and the Archibald Prize. Of the 52 Archibald finalists, exactly half are women. Female sitters also outnumber men. This year, there are more works by women than men in all Wynne, Sulman and Archibald prizes combined.

Awarded to the best portrait painting, the Archibald Prize exhibition is a mixed bag of characters in Australian culture – From celebrities, sports stars, actors, musicians, and fellow artists. Finalists for this year’s prize are a variety of well-known and emerging artists from around the country. At the same time, an exhibition dedicated to the history of the Archibalds is also on show – Archie 100: A Century of the Archibald Prize.


Archibald Prize: Peter Wegner, Portrait of Guy Warren at 100.
Highly Commended: Jude Rae, Inside Out; Pat Hoffie, Visaya in a c-collar
Sulman Prize: Georgia Spain, Getting Down or Falling Up
Wynne Prize: Nyapanyapa Yunupiŋu, Garak –Night Sky
Packing Room Prize: Kathrin Longhurst, Kate

Copyright Agency members were well-represented across all three prizes this year, including Betty Muffler, Noel McKenna and Reg Mombassa, making up a total of 40 finalist members:

  • Benjamin Aitken
  • Kate Beynon
  • Karen Black
  • Matthew Clark
  • Graeme Drendel
  • Sinead Davies
  • Jaye Early
  • Kim Leutwyler
  • Pat Hoffie
  • Euan Macleod
  • Sally M Nangala Mulda
  • Michael Snape
  • Marikit Santiago
  • Nick Stathopoulos
  • Oliver Watts
  • Noel McKenna
  • Leah Brady
  • Nyunmiti Burton
  • Kunmanara (Wawiriya) Burton
  • Katjarra Butler
  • Betty Chimney
  • Sylvia Ken
  • Tjimpayi Presley
  • Naomi Kantjuriny
  • Guy Maestri
  • Barbara Mbitjana Moore
  • Betty Muffler
  • Maringka Burton
  • Chris O’Doherty (aka Reg Mombassa)
  • Yukultji Napangati
  • Kenan Namunjdja
  • Philjames
  • Betty Kuntiwa Pumani,
  • Yaritji Young
  • Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri
  • Tim Storrier
  • Clara Adolphs
  • Suzanne Archer
  • Glenn Morgan
  • Marisa Purcell

See the 2021 exhibition and Archie 100 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales between 5 June and 26 September. For further information, including the complete list of prize winners, visit the Art Gallery of New South Wales website.

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