2005 Archibald Prize Winner
Art Gallery of NSW 2005
John Olsen has won the 2005 Archibald Prize for his painting Self Portrait Janus Faced.
John Olsen's artist statement about his Archibald self portrait comes in the form of a poem, which he wrote this year:
Sitting this afternoon in the
Now's the time of freckled leaves
& longer shadows.
Men & women after sixty
In slippered feet,
Pause on the stairs,
Self delights in well worn
On an ancient palette.
Time trickles & avoids
Janus is the Roman god of doorways, passages and bridges. In art he is depicted with two heads facing in opposite directions. "I think that the poem casts light in dark places," says Olsen of his portrait. "It informs the viewer. Janus had the ability to look backwards and forwards and when you get to my age you have a hell of a lot to think about."
Born in Newcastle in 1928, Olsen is often referred to as Australia's greatest living painter. He received an Order of Australia (AO) in 2001. In 1977 he was awarded the OBE for services to the arts and in 1993 an Australian Creative Fellowship. He won the Wynne Prize in 1969 and 1985 amongst many other awards throughout his long career. He is represented in all State Collections and in regional galleries across the country. He is also represented in major public and private collections in Australia, Europe, the UK and the USA. Olsen was a finalist in the 1989 Archibald Prize with Donde voy? Self portrait in moments of doubt.
The Archibald Prize, now in its 84th year, is worth $35,000.