Finalists – 2021 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize


The finalists of the 2021 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize, Australia’s richest art  prize, have been revealed.  Portraits of Hugh Mackay AO, Asher Keddie and Warren Ellis (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds) are amongst 30 artworks in the running for the $150,000 prize. The winner announcement will be made on 30th November 2021.

Well-known Australian artists amongst the finalists announced today include; Lewis Miller, Rodney People, Vincent Fantauzzo and Penny Dowie.  In a reflection of the times, an overwhelming majority of portraits featured the artist themself or a member of the arts community in Australia, including actors, painters, authors, musicians and photographers.

The judges of the 2021 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize are Emeritus Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia Daniel Thomas AM, prominent Australian artist and 2017 DMNPP winner Tim Storrier AM and Peter Moran, Managing Director of the Moran Health Care Group.  Peter’s parents Doug and Greta Moran AO established the Moran Arts Foundation in 1988.

Judge Daniel Thomas commented

At a time of contagion and lockdown, the entries for the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize included a few works that directly referred to the times but we became aware of a more general emphasis on the intimate life — of family at home, of love and friendship.  Of course, a few portraits of beautiful or important people occur among the 30 finalists. However, we found most of the selected portraits constituted a wonderfully ordinary survey of all-Australian diversity, many old and plain and modest, but intensely individual and emotional.”

Judge Tim Storrier commented

One of the best portraits I have ever seen in Australia or for that matter anywhere is George Lambert’s portrait of Mrs Annie Murdoch painted in 1927.  I saw the portrait at the National Gallery Lambert retrospective in 2007 and I was struck by the penetrating gaze, the quizzical expression of her mouth and the wonderful human sense of acceptance of who she is.   Viewing the portrait was very much like a personal engagement.
It is true to say that very few of us are blessed with Lambert’s talents however a portrait of such quality can set a benchmark of excellence for contemporary portraitists to try to attain. 
With a prize such as the ‘Moran’, it is imperative that a standard of aesthetic excellence is maintained above currently fashionable political pressures if its legacy is to be a collection of portraits of lasting cultural value. 
The ‘Moran’ is open to any dauber who wants to present an image of a human being – be they immature, amateur, dilettante or gifted and trained professional.  Simply this award is for excellence – the best painting as far as one can judge.  Identity politics are not relevant or welcome.”

The winner of the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize will be announced on Tuesday 30 November 2021 followed by the launch of an online exhibition of the finalist works.  A preliminary gallery of the artworks can be viewed here.

Doug Moran National Portrait Prize entries are original artworks from Australian artists, capturing Australians from all walks of life, whether a public figure or someone from their circle of experience. Works are painted at least partly from life with the sitter known to the artist and aware of the artist’s intention to enter the Prize.

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View finalist artworks here

2021 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize Finalists

Jill Ansell WA Jack of all trades Eric Nidd
Natasha Ber VIC Janet in the lockdown Janet Dawson
Lyndell Brown and Charles Green VIC Mr Wanambi Mr Wanambi
Warren Crossett VIC Assurance in disorder Micah Crossett
Michael Crowley WA I am James James Bol Chang
Penny Dowie SA The photographer and self Jacqui Way
Graeme Drendel VIC Portrait of Murray Walker Murray Walker
Jaye Early SA Masato Takasaka Masato Takasaka
Vincent Fantauzzo VIC Muse Asher Keddie
Andrew Greensmith VIC Two lives one soul Annetta Able and Stephanie Heller
Sean Hutton NSW Tamara Dean Tamara Dean
Martin King VIC John Wolseley old master John Wolseley
Harley Manifold VIC Leeanna Leeanna Walsman
Kerry McInnis NSW Listening to us (Hugh Mackay AO) Hugh Mackay AO
Lewis Miller VIC Richard Richard Manning
Paul Newton NSW Self portrait in lockdown Self portrait
Eleanor Noir SA Wintering Self portrait
Lucy O’Doherty NSW Dad and his cat Chris O’Doherty
Mica Pillemer VIC Lockdown self portrait Self portrait
Evert Ploeg NSW Eternity – self portrait with Ivana Evert Ploeg (self portrait ) with Ivana Daniele
Rodney Pople NSW Self portrait after Courbet  (2) Self portrait
Jamie Preisz NSW Warren Ellis Warren Ellis
Lynn Savery VIC Eloise da Silva as a fallen heroine (after Manet) Eloise da Silva
Jiawei Shen NSW A Prince’s Family Fu Jie
Peter Smeeth NSW Trompe-l’oeil self portrait with old door Peter Smeeth
Timothy Snowdon NSW David Dave Argaet
Michael Vale VIC Our ghostly crew (Michael Vale & Donna McRae with others) Michael Vale & Donna McRae with others
Craig Waddell NSW Self portrait floating in a sea of paint Self portrait
Vicki White NSW Us 2021 Vicki White & Eric Lobbecke
Madeleine Winch NSW Solitude (self portrait) Self portrait