Ironic twist in coveted painting prize

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The winner of Australia’s richest portrait prize – one of the most coveted in the Australian artistic world – has been revealed.

Victorian artist Graeme Drendel claimed the $150,000 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize for 2022 for his portrait of fellow artist Lewis Miller, in Sydney on Wednesday.

In an ironic twist, Lewis Miller’s own portrait of Mr Drendel was also selected as one of the 30 finalists for the prize.

Victorian artist Graeme Drendel has won Australia’s richest portrait prize, the $150,000 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize 2022 (DMNPP), for his painting of fellow artist Lewis Miller (pictured).Victorian artist Graeme Drendel has won Australia’s richest portrait prize, the $150,000 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize 2022 (DMNPP), for his painting of fellow artist Lewis Miller (pictured).Mr Graeme Drendel (right) painted fellow artist Lewis Miller (left), who was also a finalist in the award for a portrait of Mr Drendel.Mr Graeme Drendel (right) painted fellow artist Lewis Miller (left), who was also a finalist in the award for a portrait of Mr Drendel.

Mr Drendel was a competition finalist in both 2021 and 2017 and an Archibald Prize finalist in 2018.

Australian art historian and museum administrator Gerard Vaughan AM and Peter Moran, representing the Moran Arts Foundation, judged this year’s prize.

They were joined by Lucy Culliton, one of Australia’s foremost contemporary artists.

Victorian artist Graeme Drendel.Victorian artist Graeme Drendel.

“The portrait has everything I was looking for: a freshness of paint, a likeness of the subject. The eyes meet the viewer,” Ms Culliton said of Mr Drendel’s painting.

“The palette of colours used is subtle but mixed in good skin colours.

“Interestingly when we viewed the paintings in real life, although I knew the painting was small, I was surprised at how small the portrait was.”

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