FAQ

What is the New South Wales Parliament Plein Air Art Prize?
The annual Plein Air Art Prize is a landscape painting prize. Eligible works are painted ‘en plein air’ depicting a New South Wales subject. The finalists are exhibited at Parliament House, Sydney and the winner is awarded $20,000. The winning painting permanently enters the collection of the New South Wales Parliament.

What does ‘plein air’ mean?
The term ‘en plein air’ refers to the practice of painting out of doors, in direct engagement with nature, where the transitory effects of light can be observed and recorded. It has a history in Europe of several hundred years, the most famous exponents including Salvator Rosa and Claude Lorraine in the 17th Century and Corot and the Barbizon school painters in the 19th. In an Australian context, the Impressionists of the late 19th century, including Arthur Streeton and Tom Roberts were devoted to painting out of doors, and thus brought a new understanding of Australian light and landscape to the public through their work. Fred Williams, Australia’s great master of landscape painting in the twentieth century, used studies painted out of doors as the foundation of his work. These artists and others established a strong tradition of painting ‘en plein air’ in Australia that continues to this day.

Contemporary Australian artists paint ‘en plein air’ both in the bush and the city. For many it is a private aspect of their work, rarely exhibited, which provides a complement to their studio work. For others it is their principal method of working. Australia’s climate and landscape has long proven conducive to working out of doors and continues to fascinate the public.

Who can enter the Plein Air Art Prize?
Any artist, professional or emerging, is eligible to enter this landscape painting prize.

What are the subject requirements?
Your painting must evoke a subject found in New South Wales. It must have been begun since 1 May 2015 and must have been painted in the tradition of ‘en plein air’.

What mediums are allowed?
Acceptable mediums include those traditionally associated with the practice of ‘en plein air’ painting (oil, acrylic, gouache etc.) and, to a lesser degree, work encompassing collage, drawing or other mixed media will be considered.

How many works can I enter?
You may enter up to two works in the Plein Air Art Prize.

What is the cost of entry?
The cost of entry is $40.00 inclusive of GST. Limit of two entries per artist.

How is the Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize judged?
The 2017 Plein Air Art Prize will have a two fold judging process. All stages will be judged by distinguished experts in Australian art appointed by the NSW Parliament. Three judges will see all electronic entries, and select no less than 60 semi-finalists. Semi-finalists shall be notified and will deliver their works to the Parliament of NSW on the given dates, and the three judges will select a maximum of 45 finalists to be hung in the exhibition. A separate judge will then select one winner and up to three highly commended works from the finalists. The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. For further information on the landscape painting prize, please see the Terms and Conditions.

How do I deliver my artwork?
If you are selected as a semi-finalist, you will be required to deliver your artwork to NSW Parliament on 3 or 4 September 2017. Please do not submit your artwork unless you are advised you have been selected as a semi-finalist.

What happens to the winning work?
The winning painting of the Plein Air Art Prize is acquired by NSW Parliament as a condition of entry and joins a significant body of public artwork in the NSW Parliament Collection. The landscape painting prize is a wonderful way for the NSW Parliament to acquire wonderful artworks that depict the diversity of scenes that New South Wales has to offer.

What are the size constraints?
Acceptable are any works that are no wider than 1000mm (framed) or higher than 1500mm (framed). We recognise that most works will not be that proportion. For further information, please see the Terms and Conditions.

What is an online entry?
Once again for the the Plein Air Painting Prize 2017, all entries must be submitted electronically using the online entry form for the first round of judging. One photograph per entry that captures the entirety of the artwork and is of sufficient quality for judging purposes must be attached when completing the online form. The photograph must be submitted as a .jpeg image file and be between 3-6 MB in size. Artworks must not be delivered to the Parliament unless you are selected as a semi-finalist. For further information, please see How to Enter and the Terms and Conditions.

Why is there no Salon des Refusés in 2017?
The space traditionally used to house the Salon des Refusés will be under construction in October when the Plein Air Exhibition for 2017 is scheduled. Unfortunately no alternative space could be identified and for 2017 a decision has been made that there will not be a Salon des Refusés. Instead, the number of entries featured in the main Plein Air Exhibition has been increased from 42 to 45 works in order to display as many of the wonderful entries we receive as possible.

What is a Salon des Refusés?
The term Salon des Refusés, translating from French as “salon of the rejected” was ascribed to an art exhibition that took place in Paris in 1893, hanging works that had been rejected by the official Paris Salon. Today a common phenomenon which takes place alongside many art prizes worldwide, Salon des Refusés exhibitions display works that have not been chosen for the main exhibition.