History of the KILGOUR PRIZE

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The KILGOUR PRIZE an annual art prize for figurative and portrait painting administered annually by Newcastle Art Gallery. It awards $50,000 for the most outstanding work of art as determined by a panel of three judges. Each year the judging panel is comprised of Newcastle Art Gallery's Manager and two invited external judges. A further $5,000 is awarded through the People's Choice, with the winner chosen by visitor voting online and at the Gallery.

KILGOUR PRIZE  continues a long history of benefaction to Newcastle Art Gallery. In 1987 artist Jack Noel Kilgour bequeathed funds for the creation of a major figurative and portrait art competition to be run in perpetuity at the Gallery. As per the terms of Kilgour's will the inaugural KILGOUR PRIZE  was held in 2006. Originally held every two years and awarding $30,000, the prize has now become annual and awards $50,000. It is one of Australia's major art prizes.  

The inaugural recipient of the KILGOUR PRIZE 2006 was Sydney-based artist Nicholas Harding with his work Beach Life. Later winners include Dallas Bray who won consecutively in 2008 and 2010. Last year's winner of the KILGOUR PRIZE  2016 was Peter Gardiner with the work Origin / Landscape 2016.
 

Winners

2017 winner will be announced Friday 4 August 2017

2016: Peter Gardiner 
Origin / Landscape 2016 
oil on marine ply 
63.5 x 47.0cm
Gift of Newcastle Art Gallery Society in recognition of John Clune’s outstanding contribution to the Newcastle Art Gallery Society 2016
Newcastle Art Gallery collection 

Artist Statement: 
COURBET ORIGIN DU MONDE, NATURE, FECUNDITY.

2015: Janelle Thomas 
Helen Ross, 94 with Kirsty 2015
oil on linen
86.0 x 81.0cm
Artist collection

Artist Statement: 
At 94, Mrs Helen Ross brims with vitality and dignity. I admire Helen’s spirit and contribution to her community as she tirelessly organises and assists local groups. For example, rallying a group that saved the local library from closing. Helen published her 1st novel at age 88. Helen’s latest book, 'Short Stories' 2014, captures some of her rich life experiences. Born 1921 in Scotland, Helen travelled worldwide and now lives on the NSW Central Coast. Helen lived through the blitz in London, then in Germany, where her husband Archie was a Prosecutor in the Nuremburg Trials. Helen worked for the Save the Children Fund in Edinburgh and Germany.

While I was painting, Kirsty, Helen’s beloved companion from Monika’s Rescue, jumped on Helen’s lap to counterbalance the composition perfectly. As they each gaze in opposite directions, both seem lost in reverie about a life well lived. While I painted, Helen recounted fascinating experiences from her life. I minimised the background to focus the portrait on Helen and her bond with Kirsty. Helen credits Kirsty with saving her life after Archie, her beloved husband of 66 years, passed away. Helen and Kirsty were ideal portrait subjects as they both sat graciously and held a very steady pose.


2014: Alan Jones 
Robert Forrester #2  2013 
oil and acrylic on linen
194.0 x 179.0cm
Artist collection

Artist Statement:
Alan Jones’ maternal family heritage can be traced back to the arrival of convict Robert Forrester aboard the First Fleet. Forrester and his co-accused Richard McDale were convicted at The Old Bailey in London in 1783 for a robbery involving ‘Six pieces of gold coin of the realm called guineas to the value of Six Pounds and Six Shillings being the property of Simon Hughes’. Forrester was sentenced to death.

The death sentence was commuted to transportation to America but due to the ongoing American War of Independence both men were ultimately transported to colonial New South Wales ‘for the term of their natural lives’. Forrester spent the next three years imprisoned on the Thames before setting sail on 'The Scarborough', the hulk that would become one of the eleven First Fleet boats arriving to ‘New South Wales’ in 1788.

Following an unsettling 18 month period on Norfolk Island, Forrester eventually made his way up the Hawkesbury River to Green Hills (now known as Windsor). Forrester lived and worked in the Hawkesbury with his second (common law) wife Isabella ‘Bella’ Ramsay (convict aboard ‘Mary Ann’, Third Fleet) for the remaining years of his life. Robert Forrester died on 14 February 1827, age 69.

In ‘Robert Forrester #2’, Forrester appears worn out, shackled and placed abruptly in front of the plot of land he was first granted on the Hawkesbury River in 1794. This small plot of land located in Windsor frequently appears in Jones’ work as he continues to draw inspiration from this connection to the Hawkesbury area.

Jones has been exploring Australia’s colonial history and the journey of the First Fleet for some time. It interests him from both a personal perspective and from a broader view point as an Australian. Jones is unflinching in his exploration of the tension between his own personal and family identity and the broader context of the shameful history of colonisation and its impact on the First Australians.


2010: Dallas Bray 
Going to town 2010
oil on canvas
120.0 x 149.0cm
Recipient of the 2010 KILGOUR PRIZE from the Jack Noel Kilgour bequest
as administered by the Trust Company of Australia Limited
Newcastle Art Gallery collection

Artist statements were not a requirement for finalists during the 2006 - 2010 period.


2008: Dallas Bray 
Burning Bush 2008
oil on canvas
140.0 x 160.0cm
Recipient of the 2008 KILGOUR PRIZE from the Jack Noel Kilgour bequest
as administered by the Trust Company of Australia Limited
Newcastle Art Gallery collection

Artist statements were not a requirement for finalists during the 2006 - 2010 period.


2006: Nicholas Harding 
Beach Life (pint zinc and figures) 2006
oil on Belgian linen
168.0 x 153.0cm
The inaugural recipient of the KILGOUR PRIZE from the Jack Noel Kilgour bequest
as administered by the Trust Company of Australia Limited 2006
Newcastle Art Gallery collection

Artist statements were not a requirement for finalists during the 2006 - 2010 period.
 

Judges

2017:
Lauretta Morton, Manager Newcastle Art Gallery
Tony Oates, Curator, Exhibitions - Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University 
Charles Robb, practicing artist and Associate Lecturer in Art and Design - Queensland University of Technology

2016:
Lauretta Morton, Manager Newcastle Art Gallery
Peter Sharp, Artist and Lecturer - University of New South Wales School of Art and Design
Deborah Edwards, Curatorial Consultant - Art Gallery of New South Wales

2015:
Lauretta Morton, Manager Newcastle Art Gallery
Angus Trumble, Director National Portrait Gallery
Ross Woodrow, Professor Griffith University

2014:
Sarah Johnson, Curator Newcastle Art Gallery
John Cheeseman, Manager Cultural Services / Gallery Director Mosman Art Gallery
Andrew Frost, Art writer and critic

2010:
Ron Ramsey, Director Newcastle Art Gallery
Daniel McOwan, Director Hamilton Art Gallery VIC
Ann Lewis AO, Sydney-based collector, patron and philanthropist
 
2008:
Ron Ramsey, Director Newcastle Art Gallery
Debbie Abraham, Director Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery
Joe Eisenberg, Cultural Director Maitland Regional Art Gallery
 
2006:
Nick Mitzevich, Director Newcastle Region Art Gallery
Tony Ellwood, Director National Gallery of Victoria
Karen Quinlan, Director Bendigo Art Gallery

The KILGOUR PRIZE  is financed by the Jack Noel Kilgour bequest, administered by The Trust Company, Part of Perpetual.


Image: Dallas Bray Burning Bush 2008 (detail)
oil on canvas 140.0 x 160.0cm
Recipient of the 2008 Kilgour Prize from the Jack Noel Kilgour bequest as administered by the Trust Company of Australia Limited
Newcastle Art Gallery collection