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Dobell Drawing Prize 2011

December 2, 2011toFebruary 5, 2012



2 December 2011: Anne Judell wins Dobell Prize for Drawing 2011
Dobell Drawing Prize 2011 winner announced Friday 2 December, 11am. The Dobell Prize is Australia’s most respected prize for drawing and one of the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ highly anticipated annual events.

  • 2 December 2011 – 5 February 2012

2 December 2011:

It was announced today at the Art Gallery of New South Wales that Anne Judell is the winner of the 2011 Dobell Prize for Drawing for her work Breath, a triptych in pastel on fine paper.

Anne Judell was awarded $25,000 for winning Australia’s most important prize for drawing. A record number of 734 entries were entered this year, of which 49 are included in the exhibition, on display from today until 5 February 2012.

A frequent inclusion in the exhibition of finalists of past Dobell Prize exhibitions, Judell’s work is widely admired amongst artists, critics and collectors of contemporary Australian art.

Her drawings and pastels are often described as abstract because she deals with the ineffable:

Art, for me, is the mystery itself, as well as being the means to explore the mystery.
– Anne Judell

The Prize was judged this year by the distinguished artist Guy Warren. Of the winning entry he writes:

Although there are many works in this year’s Dobell which call urgently for serious consideration, the chosen work demands attention by calling softly. In a world of clashes and chaos this work speaks of something different. With dense layers and subtle surfaces it talks of the mystery of growth, of essences and fragility, of quiet contemplation. It is like a thought once understood and lost, which one tries to grasp again.

Born in Melbourne in 1942, Anne Judell studied at RMIT, has lived and travelled in Europe and the USA and moved to Sydney to live in 1977. Since 1992 she has lived and worked in the southern highlands of New South Wales. The Campbelltown City Art Gallery staged a survey exhibition of her work in 2002.

The Dobell Prize for Drawing, initiated by the Trustees of the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation is an acquisitive award, first awarded in 1993.


Artist Guy Warren will judge the 2011 Dobell Drawing Prize and the winner will be announced, Friday 2 December at 11am. Winning artist receives $25,000 and the work is automatically added to the Art Gallery of NSW collection. The exhibition of selected artists will be on display from 2 December 2011 until 12 February 2012.

The Dobell Prize 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.

“If the artist says it’s a drawing, it’s a drawing,” said Arthur Boyd, inaugural judge, 1993.

Kevin Connor was the first Dobell Drawing Prize winner with a gritty drawing in black ink and white gouache, Pyrmont and the city. It was chosen by Arthur Boyd (1920-1999), the first of many distinguished artists, curators and specialists in drawing to judge the Prize. Connor won it again in 2005. Among previous prize-winners are Jan Senbergs, Godwin Bradbeer, Pam Hallandal (twice), David Fairbairn, Nick Mourtzakis (twice), Aida Tomescu and Gary Shead. Former judges of the Prize include James Gleeson, John Olsen, Margaret Olley, Colin Lanceley and Betty Churcher.

The Sir William Dobell Foundation has contributed enormously to the Art Gallery of NSW collection. Established by the Foundation in 1993, the Dobell Prize has created a significant collection of Australian drawings by leading artists. In 1990, the Foundation gifted some 1000 drawings by the late William Dobell (1899-1970). Dobell was an exceptional draughtsman of the figure, portraits and genre. These drawings, available in the Gallery’s Study Room, reveal exceptional quality of his work from his student years in Sydney, his time in London, return to Australia and subsequent years of fame and maturity.

On view
2 Dec 2011 – 5 Feb 2012
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney



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