The sponsors of the Dobell Prize for Drawing, the trustees of the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation, have decided to double the prize money this year to $20,000. The Dobell Prize for Drawing is now undoubtedly the most important drawing prize in Australia and the most generous in prize money.
For the first time this year, the Dobell Prize for Drawing is being staged independently of the other prizes hosted by the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The Art Gallery of New South Wales is also exhibiting all previous prizewinners in celebration of the first highly successful ten years of the prize.
The Dobell Prize for Drawing has always been the subject of discussion and debate about the nature of drawing. What constitutes a drawing is however deliberately not outlined in the conditions of entry. That has been left for competing artists to define by their practice and for each individual judge, annually appointed by the trustees of the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation, to determine in the process of looking at all the entries. This flexible, open-minded approach has ensured that the greatest variety of drawings is submitted each year.
A condition of the Dobell Prize for Drawing is that the Art Gallery of New South Wales automatically acquires prize-winning drawings. In addition to the winning works a number of drawings by selected finalists have been gifted to the Gallery or purchased. In all there are 24 drawings in the collection acquired as a result of the Dobell Prize, which now forms a growing collection of contemporary Australian drawing.
The First Ten Years exhibition presents winning drawings by Kevin Connor, Thomas Spence, Jan Senbergs, Pam Hallandal, Peter Bonner, Godwin Bradbeer, David Fairbairn, Nick Mourtzakis, Nicholas Harding and Mary Tonkin. Works by Colin Lanceley, Daniel Moynihan, Joe Furlonger, Judy Cassab, David Brian Wilson and Margaret Woodward are also included.
This year's judge is Roger Butler, Senior Curator of Australian Prints and Drawings at the National Gallery, Canberra (NGA). Distinguished judges of the prize have included artists Arthur Boyd and Margaret Olley, former NGA Director, Betty Churcher and James Fairfax.
A fully illustrated catalogue of the First Ten Years of the Dobell Prize for Drawing will be published to accompany both exhibitions. This is an initiative of the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation's trustees and the Art Gallery of New South Wales and is dedicated to the late Tony Clune, the Foundation's trustee who nurtured the prize from its inception until his death late last year.
The announcement of 2003 Winner of the Dobell Prize for Drawing will be made at 12 noon, Thursday 11 September.