Friday, May 04, 2007

The Ondaatje Portraiture Prize 2007 is re-awarded - to Tom Coates

"Ulick O'Connor, Irish writer, playwright"
 by Tom Coates RP, PNEAC, PPRBA, PPPS, RWA
Oil, 32" x 38"
NFS copyright Tom Coates
The Royal Society of Portrait Painters Awards Panel has withdrawn the Ondaatje Prize from Michael Reynolds (as announced at the Private View and Awards Ceremony on 25th April and included in the Press Pack) and, as reported in Art Daily yesterday, has re-awarded it to the original runner-up Tom Coates RP, RBA, PS, PNEAC instead for his portrait of Ulick O’Connor, Irish writer, playwright’.

I only found out about this last night at my drawing class after somebody who went to see the exhibition noticed that the prize notices next to the portraits had been changed. I checked the internet when I got home to see how the 'revised' award was being reported and only found any mention of it on Art Daily. So I wrote to my contact at the Mall Galleries who commented as follows.

Michael Reynolds was unanimously awarded the prize by the Awards Panel. Although Reynolds won before, in 2003, the Panel did not think it was against the rules for an artist to win twice. However, a closer inspection of the rules identified that they state that winners are ineligible for the same prize in future years. So the Ondaatje Prize was re-awarded to the runner up - Tom Coates (Mall Galleries Press Office).
So, following the revision of the BP Portrait Award rules it now appears that the Ondaatje Prize is the only major UK based portraiture prize which can only be won once. Maybe the Society could have the Rules for the Ondaatje Award accesible on its website as well as available in a pdf document so that all future entrants (and judges) can see them easily?
Tom Coates is a longstanding and distinguished member of many of the Federation of British Artists societies - he is currently President of the New English Art Club, as well as being a member of the Pastel Society, the Royal Society of British Artists and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters.

The Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture is awarded annually by a panel of judges to the painter of the most distinguished painting in the Society’s annual exhibition. It is one of the most illustrious and eminent awards made in the art world today and the winner receives £10,000 plus the Society’s Gold Medal.

Mr Coates’ winning painting ‘Ulick O’Connor, Irish writer, playwright’ can be seen at the Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1 (near Trafalgar Square). The exhibition opens to the public on Thursday 26th April and runs until 13th May. (extract from Mall Galleries Press Release)
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