Sir William Alexander Dargie CBE (4 June 1912 – 26 July 2003) was an
Australian painter, known especially for his portrait paintings. He
holds the record for the most
Archibald Prize wins; eight. He was an
War Artist during World War II.
2 Archibald Prize
4 See also
5 External links
William Dargie was born in Footscray, Victoria, the first son of
Andrew Dargie and Adelaide (née Sargent). His younger brother
Horrie Dargie was a noted Australian musician and harmonicist.
Portrait of Lt-General the Hon.
Edmund Herring for which Dargie won
the 1945 Archibald Prize
When he was young he met important Australian artists such as Arthur
Streeton and Tom Roberts. During
World War II
World War II he served with the
Australian Army in the Middle East, New Guinea,
to the rank of Captain. He was digging a trench in Tobruk, Libya, when
he was informed that he had won the
Archibald Prize in 1942. More than
500 of his paintings, drawings and sketches are in the collection of
the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
In December 1954 he was commissioned by
Melbourne industrialist James
P. Beveridge to paint Australia's official portrait of Queen
Elizabeth, who posed for him at Buckingham Palace. This was the first
of two portraits he created. The second, a replica of the first, was
painted as 'insurance' in case the first was lost in transit to
Australia. The original hangs in Australia's Parliament House, while
the replica is displayed in the National Museum of Australia. The
'wattle painting', as it became known, was well received by the
Australian public and became one of the most recognisable and
treasured examples of 20th-century Australian portraiture. Shortly
after its completion, colour prints were made available and the work
took on the status of official portrait.
For many postwar immigrants this portrait was their first encounter
with an artwork by an Australian artist as it was reproduced on
Australian naturalisation papers from the mid-1950s. Under the terms
of the 1954 Australian Citizenship Convention, a print of the work was
generally present in local town halls where many naturalisation
ceremonies took place.
Dargie painted the Duke of Edinburgh in 1956, as well as official
portraits of two Australian Prime Ministers: Sir
Arthur Fadden and Sir
John McEwen. Other famous Australians who sat for him included such
names as Sir
Charles Kingsford Smith
Charles Kingsford Smith and Margaret Court. Other
commissions included General John Baker, Chief of the Australian
He held positions on several gallery boards, serving on the
Commonwealth Art Advisory Board for twenty years. Between 1946 and
1953 he was head of the Victorian Art School at the National Gallery
While he is best known for his portraits, he also painted other works,
such as smaller interior views, landscapes and still lifes.
William Dargie died in
Melbourne on 26 July 2003, aged 91, two months
after the death of his wife Kathleen (née Howlitt). He was a
Dargie won the
Archibald Prize with the following works:
1941 - Sir James Elder KBE (Image)
1942 - Corporal Jim Gordon, V.C. (Image)
1945 - Lt-General The Hon
Edmund Herring KBC DSO MC ED (Image)
1946 - L. C. Robson MC MA (Image)
1947 - Sir Marcus Clark KBE (Image)
1950 - Sir Leslie McConnan (Image)
1952 - Mr
Essington Lewis CH (Image)
1956 - Mr
Albert Namatjira (Image)
Officer of the British Empire (OBE), 1 January 1960, "Member of the
Commonwealth Art Advisory Board"
Commander of the British Empire (CBE), 1 January 1969, "Member of the
Commonwealth Art Advisory Board"
Knight Bachelor, 13 June 1970, "In recognition of service to the arts"
Centenary Medal, 1 January 2001, "For service to Australian society
Art of Australia
William Dargie at Australian Art
^ MacKenzie, Andrew (2004-03-22). "The Artists : Sir William
Dargie". The Artists Footsteps. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
^ Dargie, Roger. "The artists and the musician:William and Horrie
Dargie". The La Trobe Journal. Retrieved 2008-06-26.
William Dargie at the Australian War Memorial
^ William Dargie's wattle painting of Queen Elizabeth II, National
Museum of Australia
^ "A Queen's man, in the best tradition". Sydney Morning Herald.
2003-07-29. Retrieved 2008-06-26.
^ "Sir William Dargie". Daily Telegraph. 2003-07-30. Retrieved
^ Famous &/or Notable Australian Freemasons[permanent dead link]
^ OBE: 1 Jan 1960 CBE: 1 January 1969
^ Knight bachelor: 13 June 1970
^ Centenary Medal: 1 January 2001.
for Sir James Elder, K.B.E.
for Corporal Jim Gordon, V.C.
for Lt-General The Hon. Edmund Herring, K.B.C., D.S.O., M.C., E.D.
for L .C. Robson, M.C., M.A.
for Sir Marcus Clarke, K.B.E.
for Sir Leslie McConnan
for Mr. Essington Lewis, C.H.
for Mr. Albert Namatjira
ISNI: 0000 0000 7895 8121