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Nicholas Harding's portrait Bob's daily swim

wins the People's Choice for the 2005 Archibald Prize

Nicolas Harding, Bob's daily swim

This year over 36,000 voted in this year's People's Choice for the Archibald Prize and their favourite was Nicholas Harding's portrait Bob' daily swim.

By 5pm yesterday (Monday) over 96,000 people had visited the Archibald.

In the 17 years since the People's Choice was first awarded, the prize has only twice coincided with the judges' decision. Nicholas Harding has been an Archibald finalist every year since 1994. He won the Archibald Prize in 2001 with a painting of actor John Bell and was highly commended in 1998 for his portrait of artist Margaret Olley. In 2003 he painted Margaret Whitlam and in 2002 and 2004 submitted portraits of Aboriginal artist Rusty Peters.

Harding's subject this year is painter Robert Dickerson. Now into his eighties Robert swims, paints, weight-lifts and walks every day.

Born in London in 1956, Harding came to Australia in 1965. He completed a Bachelor of Arts in 1975, travelled through Europe then returned to Australia to a career as an animator, illustrator and painter. He has had regular solo exhibitions in Sydney since 1992 and a solo exhibition in London in 1997. He has been represented in numerous group shows including the Dobell Drawing Prize, which he won in 2001, the Wynne and the Sulman Prizes, the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize and the Kedumba Drawing Prize. His work is held in a number of Australian collections including the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Nicholas receives $2,500 for winning the People's Choice.

Each year a voter for the Archibald painting which receives the most votes is selected to win $2,500. The lucky winner is Tim Gerrard from Roseville who voted for Nicholas Harding's Bob's daily swim. Tim said he just loved the use of the thick paint, the landscape and Bob in Nicholas Harding's painting.

Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes and the Citigroup Private Bank Australian Photographic Portrait Prize are on view until Sunday 3 July 2005.

Archibald Prize

On view:Until 3 July 2005
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney, Australia
Telephone:(02) 9225 1744
Recorded Information (02) 9225 1790
Nationwide toll free 1800 679 278
Hours:10am - 5pm 7 days a week
Open until 9pm every Wednesday for Art After Hours
Admission:Adults $8.00
Members/conc. $6.00
Family $22.00
(2 adults + 2 children)
Media Information and Interviews:Susanne Briggs, Press office
Telephone (02) 9225 1791
Mobile 0412 268 320

IMAGE CREDIT: Nicolas Harding, Bob's daily swim. Winner 2005 People's Choice Prize