Tony Costa named winner of 2019 Archibald prize for portrait of Lindy Lee

Sydney artist Tony Costa’s portrait of artist Lindy Lee, which was won the 2019 Archibald prize. Photograph: Felicity Jenkins

The winner of Australia’s oldest and best-known prize for portraiture was announced at the Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW) on Friday.

The Sydney-based artist Tony Costa said he is “absolutely overwhelmed, honoured and thrilled” to have won this year’s Archibald prize for his portrait of fellow Australian artist Lindy Lee.

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Costa won the $100,000 prize for portraiture, now in its 98th year, at the ArtGallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) in Sydney.

Costa, who has been an Archibald finalist in 2015, 2017 and 2018, said he was attracted to Lee’s “wisdom, humility, courage, humour and, above all, her deep focus regarding her art practice”.

“In my portrait of Lee, I have kept the colour minimal to avoid any visual noise. The challenge for me was to capture the energy of Lindy – the emotional over and above the physical.”

Among the other Archibald finalists were Tessa MacKay’s Packing Room prize-winning portrait of actor David Wenham, and portraits of high-profile Australians including artist Daisy Tjuparntarri Ward, musician Megan Washington, journalist Annabel Crabb and rugby league star Greg Inglis.

On Friday the trustees also announced the winner of the Wynne landscape prize and the Sulman prize for subject, genre or mural painting.

The Wynne prize, worth $50,000, was won by Sylvia Ken for her painting Seven Sisters – marking the fourth year in a row that the landscape prize has been won by Indigenous artists.

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