The Mosman Art Prize is an annual, acquisitive award for painting sponsored by Mosman Municipal Council.

Established in 1947, the Prize is one of the oldest and most prestigious, local government art awards in Australia. The winning works form an outstanding collection of modern and contemporary art, reflecting developments in Australian art practice over the last half a century. Works from the collection are regularly displayed in the Mosman Art Gallery & Community Centre, Mosman Council and Mosman Library.

The winner of the first Mosman Art Prize, judged by Lloyd Rees in 1947, was Margaret Olley. Subsequent Prize winners include many prominent artists such as Grace Cossington Smith, Weaver Hawkins, Nancy Borlase, Anthony Galbraith, Elisabeth Cummings, Janet Dawson, Jenny Sages and Tim Johnson. The 2011 Mosman Art Prize was won by Kerry Lester. Past adjudicators of the Prize have also included prominent figures in the Australian art world such as Margaret Preston, John Olsen, Tim Storrier, Edmund Capon and Margaret Olley.

The 2012 Mosman Art Prize was judged by Anne Flanagan, Deputy Director, Art Gallery of New South Wales.

While Mosman Council sponsors the major prize of $30,000 (acquisitive), the Commendation Prize of $5,000 (non-acquisitive) is sponsored by Henry Bucks, other sponsors include the Fourth Village Providore Young Emerging Artists’ Award (under 35 years) $2,000 and the Mosman Art Society Viewers’ Choice Award for $1,000. The Mosman Art Gallery is indebted to these sponsors for their generous support and commitment to the Mosman Art Prize.

In addition to the major prize of $30,000, Mosman Council sponsors the Allan Gamble Memorial Art Prize. An accomplished architect and artist, and Mosman Councillor for 24 years, Allan Gamble was the founder of the Mosman Art Prize. Valued at $3,000 (non-acquisitive), the prize is awarded to the best painting which explores the theme of ‘the built environment’.

David Fairbairn, Winner 2012 Mosman Art Prize for Seated Figure J.B. with orange ground

Artist Statement

My portraits are not only about the physical and psychological aspects of the sitter and the artist but also as much about the process of drawing and painting itself.

I like to work with a variety of mediums, including acrylic, gouache, pastel, ink, etching, collage and charcoal which incorporate a kind of architectural approach, building one layer on top of another until a sustained image evolves. Ultimately all that really matters is the authenticity of the image.

My practise is to work from a number of sitters who are invited to spend a period of time posing for me on a regular basis. I choose my sitters for a variety of reasons, the overriding criteria would be whether their “look” and “spirit” inspires me to want to paint and draw them over a period that might continue for two years or more during which time a large body of work is completed.

The work included in this years Mosman Art Prize is one of a series completed of James Barker over an eight month period in 2011. James is a painter of still life and landscape, who at 80 continues to live and work in Sydney. A number of large scale works, one of which was in this years 2012 Archibald prize was completed as well as a number of medium and smaller sized works and countless gouache, pen and ink studies plus a set of small etchings.

For me the traditional practise of portraiture – the length of time spent with a sitter, the day to day stopping and starting of a work as the series develops over time, and even the subtle daily differences that exist in both subject and artist, are factors that contribute to the interpretation of the work.

Much of the impetus for my work draws on past artistic traditions for example the work of Francis Bacon, Leon Kossoff, and Lucien Freud.

David Fairbairn

David Fairbairn is one of Australia’s most prominent artists working predominantly in mixed media to explore the psychological and structural nature of portraiture.

Originally from the UK where he received his training in art, he has since received over forty awards and prizes. In 2012 he was selected as a finalist in the Dobell Drawing Prize for the fifteenth time and he has shown in the Archibald Prize eight times.

Fairbairn teaches at the National Art School, Sydney and has had nearly twenty solo exhibitions since 1981 and been in over eighty group exhibitions. He is extensively represented in both public and private collections, including the National Gallery of Australia,

John Bartley, Winner of the Henry Bucks Commendation Prize for Sirens Song

Artist Statement

“Sirens Song” is from my last show at Watters Gallery.
The exhibition was titled “Songs to the Siren”.
This painting was by far and away peoples favourite.
It has had a previous life as a painting titled “Flow” it was a vertical and a little rawer than it is now.
I really liked it.
It hung around for many years without finding a home.
It always wanted to become a landscape though.
So I turned it on its side and started making marks – it came together beautifully.
The picture painted itself really.
I like it even more now.

“Songs to the siren” is a piece of music written by Tim Buckley.
The version I love is performed by This Mortal Coil.
Sirens Song suits this piece of music perfectly.

Music is an important part of my picture making.
I generally listen to melancholy or heart felt voices in the studio.
I can play the same pieces over and over.
To me, my paintings are by-products of listening to music.

John Bartley

John Bartley studied art at East Sydney Technical College, now the National Art School. After graduating in 1988, he won the Mosman Art Prize in 1990 for his work Bull ants, blowflies and burnt chops and began exhibiting at Legge Gallery. He has exhibited in group shows at numerous regional galleries and has exhibited six times in the Salon de Refuses at the S.H. Ervin Gallery. Currrently represented by Watters Gallery, Bartley explores the act of abstract painting through his connection with the music which accompanies his work in the studio.

Jerzy Michalski, Winner of the Alan Gamble Memorial Art Prize for Time Study

Artist Statement

As a painter of cityscapes and architectural interiors, I generally choose to let the viewer interpret the painting’s several meanings in light of their own personal life experiences.

I can, however, offer a few comments on what was going through my mind as I painted “Time”.

At this time in my life, I am at a “still point” reflecting on what has come before me and what might come after. For sixty two years I have been a passenger on the train of life and have literally and figuratively gone to many places and experienced much.

Perspective and colour are combined to provide an illusion of space as metaphorically charged. The larger than life sized station clock, the empty station except one lone male looking away, the columns, the bench, the blank station boards suspended from the ceiling, and, the several colours that comprise the back wall: all have symbolic meaning.

Something is happening in this painting. It is not passive. It is up to the viewer to be moved along.

Jerzy Michalski

Jerzy Michalski is a highly recognised and qualified Tasmanian artist who exhibits both nationally and internationally. His genre takes inspiration from the studied interior, the structure of spaces, the classical reference and the inner self within urban places. Drawing on his academic training and profession in Poland, Michalski has created a strong reputation throughout Australia, with regular exhibitions in leading galleries in Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Hobart, as well as European exhibitions in France, Belgium, Poland and Germany. He was offered Australian residency as a distinguished painter in 1992 and has lived in Tasmania since.

Clara Adolphs, Winner of the Fourth Village Providore Young Emerging Artist Award for New Tricks

Artist Statement

New Tricks is a recreation of an old photograph from the 1930s.

I work with anonymous, black and white photographs. I enjoy getting to know a person I haven’t met before, through the process of painting them.

By capturing isolated details and people of the past, my work explores the notion that moments are fleeting. Memories and photographs linger, but they are still just a speck in time.

Through the combination of palette knife and brush, and a generous amount of paint, I take much pleasure in surrendering control and allowing the paint to take on a life of it’s own.

I also enjoy the contrast this creates, between the surface of the painting and that of the old photograph.

Clara Adolphs

27 year old Clara Adolphs is an arts graduate from the University of New South Wales and has been a finalist or winner in a total of ten art prizes since 2009. Her paintings, often portraits, are inspired by memories and captured with a thick impasto technique reminiscent of painters such as Lucien Freud or Ben Quilty.

Carla Hananiah, Winner of the Mosman Art Society Viewers Choice Prize

Artist Statement

My work explores ideas around the sublime and the transcendent qualities of beauty. These ideas influence the titles which are inspired by poetry and lyrics. This particular painting is named after a line from a song by Brooke Fraser but it is also a line from a psalm. It is reflective of my emotional response whilst in the land at the time. It was my first trip into the land after a successful solo which has resulted in me working as an artist full-time for the first time after a long time working in run of the mill jobs like hospitality. I felt a new sense of freedom and freshness.-the idea of new mercies seemed to fit this season I was entering.

On receiving the prize

It was a lovely surprise to find out that my painting had won the Mosman Art Society Viewers Choice Prize. I had already felt honored by having my work included in the finalist exhibition and so to find out so many people had responded so positively to my art work was overwhelming. It is what every artist hopes for – that their work will speak to, attract, engage and strike a chord with other’s eyes, minds and souls. Knowing that my work resonates with others has made me feel very happy. As an emerging artist, to be selected as a finalist for such a prestigious art prize is an extremely affirming and exciting experience It was also a pleasure to meet 2011 winner Kerrie Lester on the day the award was announced.

Selected entries

Collecting your works

Collection of non-selected works

  • Tuesday 17 & Wednesday 18 July, 10am–6pm
    Thursday 19 July, 10am–7pm
  • Works not collected by 6 August 2012 will be disposed of.

Collection of selected works

  • Monday 27, Tuesday 28 & Wednesday 29 August, 10am–5pm
    Thursday 30 August, 10am–8pm
  • Exhibitors must collect their works at their own cost.
  • Works not collected by 7 September 2012 will be disposed of.

Collection of works by courier

  • Artworks not exhibited must be collected by courier on 19 or 20 July, 10am–5pm
  • Exhibited artworks must be collected by courier on 29 or 30 August, 10am–5pm
  • Artists must organise the courier and advise Mosman Art Gallery of all details by phoning 02 9978 4178

Terms & Conditions


Entries for the Mosman Art Prize must be received on Monday 9 July 2012 at the Mosman Art Gallery between 8.00am & 7.00pm. Entry forms must be completed online with two copies of the completed entry form accompanying the artwork and payment of $50 (incl GST) per artwork.

Selected entries will be listed on the Gallery website from Saturday 14 July.


The Mosman Art Prize is open to all permanent Australian residents aged 16 years and over with the exception of Mosman Council staff, Councillors, the Mosman Art Gallery Consultative Group; and their immediate family.


The Mosman Art Prize is open to original paintings in any medium such as watercolour, acrylic and oil. To qualify for adjudication the work must be substantially painted and can incorporate to a lesser extent other mediums such as drawing (pencil, pastel, charcoal, etc.), printmaking and collage. Photography and sculpture are specifically excluded. All work entered is to be produced after 1 January, 2011 and must be the original work of the exhibitor.


For the Mosman Art Prize, Commendation Prize, Viewers’ Choice, and Young Emerging Artists’ Award, the subject of the work is entirely open to the artist. For the Allan Gamble Memorial Art Prize, the subject is ‘the built environment’.


  • Mosman Art Prize sponsored by Mosman Council – $30,000
  • Allan Gamble Memorial Art Prize sponsored by Mosman Council – $3,000
  • Commendation Prize sponsored by Henry Bucks – $5,000
  • Young Emerging Artists’ Award (under 35) sponsored by Fourth Village Providore – $2,000
  • Viewers’ Choice Prize sponsored by Mosman Art Society – $1,000

All prizes will be awarded on the advice of the Judge, with the exception of the Viewers’ Choice Prize.


The Mosman Art Prize winning work shall remain the property of Mosman Council. The artist retains copyright. Mosman Council must be acknowledged on any reproduction of the prize-winning work.


The Judge will also select works of merit to be hung in the Mosman Art Prize exhibition, held at the Mosman Art Gallery, cnr Art Gallery Way and Myahgah Road, Mosman. All works selected for hanging must remain on show for the duration of the exhibition. The Judge’s decision shall be final and no subsequent discussion will be entered into.


The 2012 Mosman Art Prize exhibition will be held in the Mosman Art Gallery, from Saturday 21 July to Sunday 26 August inclusive.

Admission is free. Open 7 Days: 10am–5pm.


All works exhibited in the Mosman Art Prize may be for sale unless marked Not For Sale (NFS). A commission of 33.3% will be deducted from the selling price of any work sold by the Gallery. Should GST apply to the sale of your artwork, please ensure it is included in the total selling price. Artists affiliated with a specific commercial gallery should contact their Gallery Director regarding ‘split commission’ arrangements. Split commission is 40% (20/20). The name of the Gallery must be included on the entry form if commission is to be split.


The entry fee is $50 (inc. GST) per art work (Non-Refundable). A maximum of 2 works per artist (one online entry form per artwork). Entry forms must be completed by the artist. All details supplied by the artist are final including name of artwork, artists’ name and price of artwork.


Works must be presented ready for exhibition: ie. mounted and framed (if necessary) with ‘D-ring’ hanging devices attached. The artist’s name, address and phone number, title of work, price or Not For Sale (NFS) must be clearly marked on the back of each work, and on the Entry Form. NO WET PAINTINGS WILL BE ACCEPTED.


The maximum size of works entered in the Prize is an area of 2m² (i.e. length × width is no more than 2m², including frame) e.g. 1.50m × 1.33m = 2.0m², 2.00m × 1.00m = 2.0m²


Receipt of entries is Monday 9 July 2012, from 8am until 7pm. Entries must be delivered at the expense of the artist to Mosman Art Gallery & Community Centre, Cnr Art Gallery Way & Myahgah Rd, Mosman. If artworks are delivered by Courier – the name of the Courier company must be on the entry form.

ALL ENTRY FORMS MUST ACCOMPANY THE ARTWORK. DO NOT send the form or payment separately.


Successful entrants will be listed on this website from Saturday July 14. Works not selected must be collected from the Mosman Art Gallery between Tuesday 17 July and Wednesday 18 July between the hours of 10am and 6pm and Thursday 19 July, between the hours of 10am and 7pm. Works not collected by 6 August 2012 will be disposed of.


Exhibitors must collect their works between Monday 27 August and Wednesday 29 August between 10am – 5pm and Thursday 30 August between 10am–8pm at their own cost. Mosman Art Gallery will not be responsible for works not collected by this time. Works not collected by 7 September 2012 will be disposed of.


Artworks not exhibited must be collected by courier on Thursday 19 or Friday 20 July, 10am-5pm. Exhibited artworks must be collected by courier on Wednesday 29 or Thursday 30 August, 10am-5pm. Artists must organise the courier and advise Mosman Art Gallery of all details – especially the name of the courier company and approximate time and date for collection.


Mosman Art Gallery will exercise all reasonable care with works submitted, but will not be responsible for the loss of or damage to any work while in its custody or in transit to and from the Gallery.


Mosman Art Gallery reserves the right to photograph works exhibited in the Mosman Art Prize for the purpose of documentation and promotion. As part of the conditions of acquisition of the winning work, the winning artist will grant license to Mosman Art Gallery to reproduce the image of the painting in electronic and printed forms (eg, for online inclusion as part of the Gallery’s collection) and for general publicity purposes. The artist will maintain copyright over all commercial reproductions of their winning painting. All necessary acknowledgements of authorship will be duly made.


The personal details requested on this form will only be used for the purpose of processing your application, keeping records, and establishing your identity in accordance with Mosman Council’s Privacy Management Plan (August 2000). Access to the information is restricted to Council Officers and other authorised people.


In the event of a dispute regarding the interpretation of conditions, the decision of Mosman Art Gallery shall be binding on all parties.

Enter the Prize online

Fill out my online form.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I print the entry form?

Once you have completed the online entry form, you will receive an email which you will need to print. If you are using webmail (like Hotmail or Gmail) use the webmail service’s printing icon (Hotmail) or print link (Gmail), rather than printing the web page.

This will help ensure the form prints neatly, which will allow for faster and more accurate processing of your entry.

If I am represented by a commercial gallery what is the commission?

You should discuss it with the director of your gallery and tell them that the commission is split 50/50 between Mosman Art Gallery and your gallery and it is based on a 40% commission i.e. 20% to Mosman Art Gallery and 20% to your gallery.

I can’t make it in on Monday 9, can I bring it in Friday 6, Saturday 7, Sunday 8 or Tuesday 10?

No, every artwork must arrive on Monday 9 with 2 printed copies of the email confirmation in order to be processed ready for judging. You can get a courier to deliver or a friend or family member . Our hours are 8am to 7pm on the Monday for delivery. Payment of $50 (incl. GST) must be made on the day.

I have an artwork that is a drawing using oil pastel can I enter it?

No – this is a painting prize not a drawing prize – you work can be mixed media however the work must be substantially painted in order to qualify.

What is a D-ring and where do I buy one?

A D-ring is a triangular or D shaped ring with a screw that is then attached to each side of the picture or canvas frame ready for us to attach a hook and wire for hanging. You can buy them at the hardware store.

How big?

2 meters squared e.g. 1 metre x 2 metres or 1.50 metres x 1.33 metres.

Not 2 metres x 2 metres which is 4 metres squared and too big.

My work has 3 / 6 / 10 parts — can I enter?

If it all takes up no more than 2 metres squared when hung it is OK.

Saturday 21 July - Sunday 26 August