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© 2018 National Art School 

The Dobell Drawing Prize is an unparalleled celebration of drawing in Australia. The acquisitive award and major exhibition explores the enduring importance of drawing within contemporary art practice. The exhibition at the National Art School Gallery will feature works by 50 finalists, showcasing the best of recent drawing, research and experimentation.

Presented for the first time at the National Art School in 2019, the Dobell Drawing Prize builds on the legacy of Australia’s most respected award for drawing, the Dobell Prize for Drawing, previously held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales from 1993 to 2012. Past winners of this prestigious prize include Kevin Connor, Virginia Grayson, Nicholas Harding, Ann Pollak, Gareth Sansom, Jan Senbergs, Garry Shead and Aida Tomescu.


In 2019, the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation will award a prize of $30,000 and the winning work will become part of the National Art School’s Collection. Celebrated Australian artist Ben Quilty will select the finalists for the 2019 Dobell Drawing Prize and judge the prize-winner. 


The judging process for the Dobell Drawing Prize will occur in two phases.

  1. An initial selection of 100 semi-finalists' will be made from online and posted entries. The semi-finalist’s artworks will be delivered to the National Art School for the second round of selection.

  2. The judge will view the semi-finalists' works in person and choose approximately 50 finalists for the exhibition at the National Art School Gallery. The winning artwork will be selected from the curated exhibition of finalists.   



William Dobell’s love of drawing was recognised in 1993 when the Art Gallery of New South Wales established an annual drawing prize in his name, initiated by the trustees of the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation. For twenty years, the annual Dobell Prize aimed to encourage excellence in drawing and draughtsmanship among Australian artists. The winning work automatically became part of the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ collection, forming the Dobell Australian Drawing Collection. During these twenty years, numerous NAS staff and student works have been selected as finalists for the exhibition at the AGNSW. The prize was won six times by NAS alumni and staff.


The Dobell Drawing Prize 2012 marked the final year of this competition at the Art Gallery of NSW. From 2019, the National Art School Gallery will host the prize, appropriately displayed on the site where Dobell himself began teaching drawing 80 years before.