The Info List - William Dargie

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
Archibald Prize
wins; eight. He was an official Australian War Artist
War Artist
during World War II.


1 Biography 2 Archibald Prize 3 Honours 4 See also 5 External links 6 References

Biography[edit] William Dargie
William Dargie
was born in Footscray, Victoria, the first son of Andrew Dargie and Adelaide (née Sargent).[1] His younger brother Horrie Dargie was a noted Australian musician and harmonicist.[2]

Portrait of Lt-General the Hon. Edmund Herring
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
Australian Army
in the Middle East, New Guinea, India
and Burma
rising to the rank of Captain. He was digging a trench in Tobruk, Libya, when he was informed that he had won the Archibald Prize
Archibald Prize
in 1942. More than 500 of his paintings, drawings and sketches are in the collection of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.[3] 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.[4] 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
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 Defence Force. 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 of Victoria. While he is best known for his portraits, he also painted other works, such as smaller interior views, landscapes and still lifes. William Dargie
William Dargie
died in Melbourne
on 26 July 2003, aged 91, two months after the death of his wife Kathleen (née Howlitt).[5][6] He was a freemason.[7] Archibald Prize[edit] Dargie won the Archibald Prize
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
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
Essington Lewis
CH (Image) 1956 - Mr Albert Namatjira
Albert Namatjira


Officer of the British Empire (OBE), 1 January 1960, "Member of the Commonwealth Art Advisory Board"[8] 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" [9] Centenary Medal, 1 January 2001, "For service to Australian society and art"[10]

See also[edit]

Art of Australia

External links[edit]

portrait.gov.au Artists Footsteps William Dargie
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
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 2008-06-26.  ^ 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.


Preceded by Max Meldrum Archibald Prize 1941 for Sir James Elder, K.B.E. 1942 for Corporal Jim Gordon, V.C. Succeeded by William Dobell

Preceded by Joshua Smith Archibald Prize 1945 for Lt-General The Hon. Edmund Herring, K.B.C., D.S.O., M.C., E.D. 1946 for L .C. Robson, M.C., M.A. 1947 for Sir Marcus Clarke, K.B.E. Succeeded by William Dobell

Preceded by Arthur Murch Archibald Prize 1950 for Sir Leslie McConnan Succeeded by Ivor Hele

Preceded by Ivor Hele Archibald Prize 1952 for Mr. Essington Lewis, C.H. Succeeded by Ivor Hele

Preceded by Ivor Hele Archibald Prize 1956 for Mr. Albert Namatjira Succeeded by Ivor Hele

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 96306466 ISNI: 0000 0000 7895 8121 ULAN: 500086391 NLA: 35142995 RKD: 20062 SN