“The thing about portraiture and painting… it’s a very difficult please, as Brett Whiteley put it.”
Art style: Expressive Realism
Archibald Finalist: 17 times (including 13 years in a row from 1994 to 2006)
Archibald Winner, 2001 (portrait of John Bell as King Lear)
People’s Choice Winner, 2005 (portrait of artist Robert Dickerson, Bob’s Daily Swim)
2017 Archibald Sitter: John Olsen (one of Australia’s greatest living artists)
Nicholas Harding was born in London, England, in 1956, coming to Australia with his family in 1965. He has been a finalist in the Archibald Prize for 13 years in a row from 1994 to 2006, and again in 2009, 2011, 2016 and 2017, Commended for his portrait, Margaret Olley in 1998, winning in 2001 with his portrait John Bell as King Lear, Highly Commended and awarded the People’s Choice with Bob’s Daily Swim in 2005. His painting Robert Drewe (in the swell) 2006 and portrait of Hugo Weaving Hugo At Home 2011 were both Archibald finalists and purchased by the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra for its permanent collection.
Nicholas won the Dobell Prize for Drawing in 2001 with Eddy Avenue (3) and has been a finalist for the Sulman Prize in 1981, 2003, 2006 and Wynne Prize in 1994, 1996, 2003, 2012, 2013, 2017, Highly Commended in 2016. His painting Beached (Yuraygir self-portrait) 2015, was awarded People’s Choice in the 2015 National Artists’ Self Portrait Award at QUArt. In October 2017 a selection of his portraits will be exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery.
Nicholas was awarded a Centenary Medal in 2001 for Services to Australian Society and Art. Among his other awards he won the inaugural Kilgour Prize at the Newcastle Region Art Gallery in 2006 for his painting Beach life (pink zinc and figures) 2006, and the 2016 National Artists’ Self-Portrait Award People’s Choice Drawn to Paint. A major 25 year survey exhibition of his work was held at the SH Ervin Gallery in 2010. He has had 34 solo exhibitions since 1992 and has been included in over 140 group exhibitions since 1982.
His work is in many collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, National Portrait Gallery, Art Gallery of NSW, Art Gallery of South Australia, Newcastle Region Art Gallery, Maitland Regional Art Gallery and Tweed River Regional Art Gallery.
Experience Nicholas’ process for this year’s entry, below:
Follow Nicholas’ journey to The Archibald on Foxtel Arts from September 12.