Louise Hearman, a judge and previous winner of the prize, praised Savery’s “obsessive eye for detail”. (Supplied: Doug Moran National Portrait Prize )
The Doug Moran National Portrait Prize, worth $150,000, has this year been won by Melbourne artist Lynn Savery for her self-portrait.
It is her first major prize.
Savery, who is self-taught and a full-time carer for both her husband and father, was in tears as she accepted the award.
“I’m really taken aback,” she said.
“To be honest, this is my first portrait painting, my first oil painting. I never expected to get into the finals, let alone win.”
- 2017: Tim Storrier
- 2016: Megan Seres
- 2015: Warren Crossett
- 2014: Louise Hearman
- 2013: Nigel Milsom
- 2012: Leslie Rice
- 2011: Vincent Fantauzzo
- 2010: Michael Zavros
- 2009: Ben Quilty
- 2008: Fiona Lowry
Savery’s self-portrait was selected by judges Louise Hearman, Ron Radford AM and Greta Moran from a shortlist of 30 finalists, culled from an entry pool of 1,050 paintings.
Finalists this year included previous winner Vincent Fantauzzo, with a portrait of his wife Asher Keddie, and established artists Peter Smeeth, Jan Nelson and Peter Churcher.
Subjects ranged from notable faces such as investigative journalist Kate McClymont to artists like Sydney Dance Company’s Rafael Bonachela, as well as friends and family members.
Eleven of the 30 finalists are self-portraits.
In a statement about the winning painting, Hearman said: “Each time I look I see fascinating things that make me think.”
“The maker of this painting has an obsessive eye for detail and is also able to make the entire painting sing as a whole. It has emotion, beauty and love of life’s visual stories.
“The painting is full of invention, sophisticated colour and defiant splat-in-your-face appeal.”
The Doug Moran National Portrait Prize is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and an exhibition of past winners will appear at Paddington’s Juniper Hall alongside this year’s winner and finalists, from tomorrow until December 16.
Major portrait prize purses:
- Doug Moran National Portrait Prize: $150,000
- Archibald Prize: $100,000
- Black Swan Prize: $50,000
Established in 1988, the DMNPP is Australia’s richest art prize, and is administered by the philanthropic not-for-profit Moran Arts Foundation.
Guidelines for the prize call for “original works from Australian artists, capturing Australians from all walks of life, whether a public figure or someone from their own circle of experience. Works must be painted at least partly from life with the sitter known to the artist and aware of the artist’s intention to enter the Prize.”