June 30, 2015. 10:40

CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | Contact

A late entry into this year’s Archibald Prize has left judges stunned, as the daughter of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott submits the first official portrait of her father.

According to the Herald, it has been revealed that the trustee board of the famous art prize made an exception to all submission deadlines, due to the young creative designer’s inability make the friday entry date.

In it’s 94th year, the Archibald Prize is touted as one of the most prestigious art prizes in the country – with approximately 800 entrants each year submitting portraits-of-photographs of B-list Australian actors, other artists, and moderately well-known Labor politicians. 

According to her Instagram page, Frances Abbott submitted the first official portrait of her father at approximately 15:00pm yesterday afternoon. At least 72 hours after entries closed to the public. Shortly after, it was revealed that the 22-year-old had been listed as a finalist.

“I am so honoured to join the ranks of Ben Quilty and Tim Storrier as a finalist in the Archibald. This has has been a dream of mine for several years now,” said an ecstatic Frances Abbott, who lists both Quilty and Storrier as inspiration, as well as 2014 finalist – Anh Do.

According to the Gallery of NSW spokesperson, Angus Capon, certain exceptions were made for Frances Abbott – due to her father’s close relationship with several members of the trustee board.

Frances Abbott's instagram upload, yesterday afternoon.
Frances Abbott’s instagram upload, yesterday afternoon.

Frances Abbott, used to seeing her father in the spotlight, found herself the centre of a major news story last year when it was leaked that she had been awarded a $60,000 scholarship to study at the exclusive Whitehouse Institute of Design in 2011.

The 21-year-old student who accessed the school’s database and leaked the information to the New Matilda was handed a two-year good behaviour bond but didn’t have a conviction recorded again her name. Les Taylor, the chairman of the institute, was a long time friend and supporter of Mr Abbott.

The artistic community of Sydney is in uproar today, with many drawing parallels between the Whitehouse saga and the nepotism shown towards Frances Abbott’s Archibald submission.

Winner of the 2014 Archibald Prize, Fiona Lowry with her subject, Penelope Seidler. PHOTO: Malcolm Turnbull, Instagram
Winner of the 2014 Archibald Prize, Fiona Lowry with her subject, Penelope Seidler. PHOTO: Malcolm Turnbull, Instagram

Angus Capon has addressed all claims in an official press release today.

“This may look like nepotism, cronyism or even favouritism. However, it was a lovely portrait and after taking an official phone call from the Prime Minister himself, we were very excited to play host to the first official portrait of Tony Abbott,”

“She is just as credible as any other artist, in fact she has chosen the perfect subject. No one else has been able to sit down and paint Tony Abbott, so I believe she has a good chance at taking this year’s prize”,

“The subject was perfect. Topical, high-profile and able to give us media leverage – that’s really all that matters. Her style speaks for itself.”

With the likes of Anh Do (IGA Ambassador and author) Noah Taylor (Game Of Thrones actor) expected to join Ms Abbott as finalists, the pressure is on for no-name artists to deliver something that can outweigh the reputations of previous Sydney-based winners and obscure celebrities from unrelated fields.

“We are very excited to see which Channel Nine mini-series actors end up being painted. We are hoping to get the entire cast of House Husbands hung as finalists” says Mr Capon.


  1. So Dad could snake her into the academy but couldn’t pull any strings to give her talent…..
    what a mess, and what a way to continue to rub in her corruption

  2. “According to the Gallery of NSW spokesperson, Angus Capon, certain exceptions were made for Frances Abbott – due to her father’s close relationship with several members of the trustee board.” In any other situation, this would be considered corruption, why not here?

  3. You Know, for someone who attended White House on a full scholarship I have to say I was expecting well, something of a higher caliber than this, I mean it’s ok but, it’s certainly not what I’d call Archibald prize material.

  4. Not only does the painting look like crap, BUT the whole scenario is total CRAP!!! When will Australians stop licking the boots of the so called favoured?

    • I agree the painting is not even a good resemblance of Tony. The ears aren’t big enough and lips too big. The eyes are smudged and lack intensity. The way the subject is framed is just boring. Overall it looks like not much effort was put into it…

    • And you are in a qualified position to judge?

      As opposed to just being left wing.

      Feel very very sorry for the life you lead.

      • Darren, we’re all in a qualified position to judge. It’s an artwork. To be qualified, you simply have to know what you do or don’t like. We can adequately judge that it’s a fairly crude and non-exciting representation of Abbott…that is possibly making a valid artistic statement, which may or may not be the one the artist intended.
        We can also judge the state of affairs of being allowed in past the deadline because of her family connection to be an accurate representation of the corruption endemic in our current politicians.
        And finally, we can judge you to either be little more than a twat from your self-righteous repetition of the slogan ‘Who are you to judge’, without any actual contribution to the argument….OR we might see you as an ironic beat poet mouthing banal one-line statements that echo the standard of communication Abbott himself has achieved. What an artist you turned out to be.

      • Darren, you are an absolute dick head, scrolling down, you have commented I’m so many peoples opinions, with the same comments, accosting people as soon as they make the reasonable observation that she failed the deadline, she drew something that looks bloody awful and she is somehow still a bloody finalist!

        If that isn’t proof that this is dodgey, then what is? Can you honestly say that the portrait shown is any goood, please that was a rhetorical question.

  5. Nice to see the Archibald is now subject to corruption – and that our system encourages it. If my daughter paints a portrait of me, will they accept it? A day later?

    I am fairly sure that the scholarship was a waste of money. No talent to see here. A flat, uninspiring portrait – I will refrain from commenting about the reflection of his leadership.

  6. I’m sure it’s a great honour to have daddy pull the strings so she can “win” the prize. What’s going to happen when daddy is no longer around? When she tries to find work in another country? No more hand outs for daddy’s little princess.

  7. what is happening to Australia??? this is such blatant nepotism, and the Abbotts get away with their corruption every time??? has anyone else ever been allowed to submit a late entry to the Archibald?

  8. This is completely wrong. Perhaps the trustees should publish a list of people who are outside the rules due to their position or connections.

  9. What a completely average painting, how on earth did it make into the finals of such a prestigious art prize. I could understand it being chosen for the bald archies, thats where it belongs.

  10. This is everything that is wrong with the state of contemporary art. Influence and money dictates the notion of success and for those of us with forty decades in the trenches it is an insult. It reminds me of the old saw, “If you can’t dazzle them with diamonds, baffle them with bullshiz”. It completely invalidates the integrity of the prize.

  11. Get over yourselves and have a look a some of the past crap that has been entered into the Archibald – I am certain this isn’t the first late entry into this competition. Good luck Frances.

    • Yeah I was running late on the train down from central coast when taking my painting in.
      I rang AGNSW and got put onto Steve the lovely head packer at AGNSW, he was really sweet and said not o worry and that he would be there when I arrived (a few hours late). AGNSW told me that it was his call whether or not a late entry would or wouldn’t be accepted.
      I gave him a big kiss on the cheek, I really appreciated it! xx

  12. Are this the ethics of the Archibald?! How disappointing.
    …and I had thought rather highly of the price!

  13. How could she submit this terrible cringeworthy art, has taken somebody else’s spot again.

    Primary school level lowered the standard. it hasn’t captured his mean megalomaniac spirit at all! They must have the thickest skin the Abbotts.

  14. Shame, shame, shame – I wonder how many others have been allowed in after the deadline. First the scholarship, now this – make sure she wins and that will be the icing on the cake.

  15. I’m a father too, I understand wanting the best for my little girl but I’m honest with her when judging her work.
    Maybe I’m too harsh but I certainly wouldn’t pull any strings to help her entertain any delusions about her work, and this portrait looks pretty amateur.
    Hopefully no deserving entrant is overlooked or undervalued because of her political ties.
    In my humble opinion, all work should be measured independent of the artists history, affiliation, or reputation.

  16. Maybe the SMH could ask their free range arts commentator Ben Quilty what he thinks about the exemption made for Frances Abbot, as both artist and trustee? again.

  17. DISGUSTING … Angus Capon – YES, it does look very much like nepotism, cronyism or even favouritism – I’m certainly going to boycott the Archibald and I hope many others do likewise.

  18. Seriously? She even tweeted that the ‘lefty lynch mob will love it’, these bloody people have nothing but contempt for those who would oppose favouritism – she’s learning from the best of them, clearly…

  19. Ugh ugh ugh SO many things annoy me about this
    1. They made a “special extension” to the deadline because she lodged it 72 hours late !?
    2. The fact that it is rubbish and she still got listed as a finalist
    3. Her snide little comment about the “lefty lynch mob” on Instagram.

  20. Seriously? Could any one else have gotten away with submitting it that late! Ridiculous! The painting is average (not crap, there is some talent there… but NOT Archibald Prize material!) and the submission was late… and yet it’s still a finalist!? I have looked forward to the Archibald Prize every year since I was 15… ruined.

  21. Um.. somehow I don’t think this is legit… “frannyabs69”? Add a shocking paint job of a shocking subject matter -surely someone is having a go???

  22. Is she delusional – putting herself into he same league as Ben Quilt? This totally degrades the Archibald prize. So very sad. Definitely now not making the trip to Sydney to see it.
    Yes, I’m a bit of a lefty. I’m also a (very) amateur artist, and would not dream of entering such a poor painting in any art prize.

  23. I saw it at the gallery yesterday.

    Its fascinating. If you stare at his nose, go cross eyed and then look at the white blank wall next to it, a beautiful image of Jesus appears.

    Its called “negative afterimage”.


  24. I dunno if my last comment posted so I just wanted to try again to give my story, I was running late on the train down from central coast when taking my painting in.
    I rang AGNSW and got put onto Steve the lovely head packer at AGNSW, he was really sweet and said not o worry and that he would be there when I arrived (a few hours late). AGNSW told me that it was his call whether or not a late entry would or wouldn’t be accepted.
    I gave him a big kiss on the cheek, I really appreciated it! xx

  25. We’ve all been conned !…remember, believe only a fraction of what you read on the Internet . If it sounds a little bit off it may be bulldust Try to remain sceptical to avoid looking foolish.

  26. I think its a great likeness of her father. Ears to small to hear the opinions of the Australian public, lips too big as he is always talking total crap and embarrassing this nation globally. And eyes distant and blind to the mess he is making from his misguided leadership. The fact this painting was accepted 72 hrs late, and under questionable means, confirms the level of corruption going on.

  27. The timing and nepotism stinks . Something’s rotten in the state of Australia and the Archibald is highlighting it . Shameful situation from our so called leader .

  28. I think I will paint a picture of my daddy. Oh I forgot it is too late to enter and my daddy isnt the PrimeMinister of this country. As the saying goes, it is not what you know(or how good you paint)but who you know.

  29. How did the people at the Gallery allow this travesty?
    What powers could ever persuade them to make such fools of themselves?
    A rubbish and amateur painting.

  30. Just saw this…how unbelievable…any art prize of note has a strict submission time…okay sometimes…..very rarely actually… there may be an extension to next day but if so for everyone…..but 3 days later? Yes only for the big commander in chief’s daughter….AND…what’s more…this amateur attempt gets into the finals….so someone with some real talent in this once prestigious…sadly no longer….prize misses out because Miss Frances thinks she is above everyone else and believes she actually has talent….the Whitehouse Institute freebie all over again and with Brandis being Judge Judy of the Arts…she will probably win. There goes Australian Arts cred which has been gaining strength

  31. don’t waste any more time on this predominantly negative topic – focus on the launch of SALA – the incredible array of talent exhibited – emerging and evolved, in many environments around SA…I agree with some of the points made; but nothing short of a staged protest will change anything – I have a very talented friend who paints in a similar style and frankly without seeing it in person I cannot judge…her work (Alessandra Jordan’s) in the flesh is moving, her depictions coloured by her opinions of the books she has read, and price tagged with said books as the tags…unable to afford sittings she reads the second hand books, and then paints the portrait from the back of (predominantly)original penguin classics…perhaps as has been suggested this portrait is underdone, or a reflection of the undercurrent of his daughter’s relationship with our current prime minister. if nothing else the hype has been increased, and the outsiders of the art world incensed, and more interest in the Archibald. Smart political move NO! marketing value – certainly!

  32. What a bloody awful looking painting of an equally awful Prime Minister! The Eyes are about the only part of the painting that are right … small, beady, mean, full of shyte and as crooked as a donkey’s hind leg!
    NOT a happy Jan … on any front! Strings are pulled to enter an extremely artistic competition by an already budding corrupted Abbott, THREE days past the cut off period, and the subject is just as equally depressing as well!

  33. Gob smacking. Our esteemed PM and his daughter have managed to taint even the Archibald. Just shows how far reaching their disgustingness is.

  34. First a dodgy ass scholarship because of nepotism, and now an exception made that not one other single actual artist would have been given because of….surprise! Nepotism!

    Can we put this cuntish family on a boat to somewhere please? Or chopping block?

  35. I feel very embarrassed for Frances. My ‘lefty’ politics aside, she will look back on this portrait one day when she has matured as an artist and realise how bad it is. I’ve been creating art far longer than she has and I still won’t enter the Archibald! Don’t do it until you really know your work is excellent.

  36. God I love the comments! Keep it coming people. Betoota, Keep exposing the truth.
    P.S I actually think the painting is too awesome, there’s no way she painted it without photoshops.

  37. This is very disappointing. A real lack of judgement on the committees part and a total lack of equality shown towards the other participants. I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we all have our own tastes but I find the painting is really lacking in skills and techniques and doesn’t say anything special or unique about the subject, bland and very badly painted is what I feel when I look at the image. When you look at the calibre of previous contenders and the many artists that have not got in it does make you wander why this work is here. The obvious answer is that someone’s daddy has connections and has chosen to use them. I feel that is a very manipulative and basically embarrassing way to get accepted.

  38. She’s not a finalist. Finalists were only listed yesterday. This is incorrect. And super dodgy the PM’s daughter gets to enter late.

  39. Can Tony make a phone call to Centrelink for me and get them to accept my medical report that missed the deadline because I had to wait months to see a specialist?

  40. What does one see when one looks at the daughter’s portrait of her father? Nothing but an honest depiction of the man… the PM. Distant, perhaps even shaded by his doubts and insecurities, here is a man who hides behind a stoic facade, his magnificent blue tie. Can he shake free of the tie and become the man his daughter – and his country – need? Time, good folk of Betoota, will tell its tale.

    I must confess to some surprise at seeing today’s “mainstream” press ignoring this seminal work and not even mentioning it amongst the favourites to “take the title”. Now, people of the wide brown land, surely you see why the Honourable George Brandis QC has had to take direct control over Arts Council funding!

    frannyabs69, you do your country, and indeed the Whitehouse Institute of Design, proud.


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