Del Kathryn Barton’s portrait of Hugo Weaving has won the 92nd Archibald Prize, announced on Friday at the Art Gallery of NSW.
Kathryn Barton was hugged by former Art Gallery of NSW director Edmund Capon. She also won the prize in 2008.
Barton beat Fiona Lowry's portrait of video artist Shaun Gladwell, which the trustees highly commended. The chairman of the gallery's board of trustees, Steven Lowy, said portraits by Julie Dowling, David Griggs and Wendy Sharpe rounded out their top five.
Imants Tillers meanwhile took the Wynne prize but had been the punters’ favourite to win the Archibald, according to Sportingbet’s communications manager Andrew Brown.
‘‘It was backed into $8 favouritism by the time we closed betting and was responsible for four of our five biggest bets,’’ he said.
‘‘We also took double the amount of bets on this artwork than the next most popular.’’
Mr Brown said Fiona Lowry’s portrait of video artist Shaun Gladwell, McLean Edwards’ painting of curator Glen Barkley and Alexander McKenzie’s portrait of Toni Collette also received strong backing from punters.
A total of 868 portraits were entered in the Archibald Prize this year (up from 839 in 2012) and were whittled down to 39 finalists by the gallery’s 11 trustees in about four hours earlier this month.
The gallery trustees also judge the Wynne prize for landscape painting or figurative sculpture, which was won by Imants Tillers for Namatjira.
The winner of the Sulman prize, awarded for a subject or genre painting or mural, was Victoria Reichelt for After (books).
First awarded in 1921, the Archibald Prize is awarded each year to the best portrait "preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia". This year it was dominated by large canvases of actors and artists, including many self-portraits.
The non-inclusion of perennial Archibald finalist Jenny Sages’ portrait of novelist Kate Grenville was perhaps the biggest surprise.
The $75,000 prize, open to amateur and professional artists, is judged by the trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW, who include a number of wealthy businessmen plus two artists, Lindy Lee and 2011 Archibald Prize winner Ben Quilty.
The Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prize exhibition is on from March 23 to June 2.