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Tough decision for 2007 Archibald judges -

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VIRGINIA TRIOLI: This year's Archibald Prize winner might be black and white but the decision
certainly wasn't. The judges considered more than 600 portraits and they had real trouble splitting
the final five. In the end, they chose a black and white painting by John Beard of his artist
friend Janet Laurence. Anne Maria Nicholson reports.

ANNE MARIA NICHOLSON, ARTS REPORTER: John Beard is no stranger to the Archibalds but, even on his
third attempt, he was full of nerves. The Welsh born painter chose Janet Laurence as his subject,
the third artist he's painted for the country's most coveted portrait prize.

JOHN BEARD, ARCHIBALD PRIZE WINNER: The condition for me is I must really like the artist, know
them as a friend and respect their work, and the other thing too is that they have to be reasonably
good looking.

ANNE MARIA NICHOLSON: Switching from artist to sitter was no problem.

JANET LAURENCE, PORTRAIT SITTER: I just understand about the art process and sometimes you're one
side of it and sometimes you're the other side of it.

ANNE MARIA NICHOLSON: Janet Laurence has Archibald Prize form herself. She was a judge and, word
has it, scuttled John Beard's previous attempts.

JOHN BEARD: That's more than likely.

JANET LAURENCE: You'll never know.

ANNE MARIA NICHOLSON: The judges were clearly more divided than usual this year. For the first
time, they announced five paintings they were weighing up for first prize. The other four were
Zhong Chen's Self Portrait, Del Kathryn Barton's Vasili Kaliman, Cherry Hood's Ben Quilty and Bill
Leak's Paul le Petit.

EDMOND CAPON, NSW ART GALLERY: Then the votes changed. They piled up on one, then they did it again
and they seemed to go off that one to another painting. I must say an awful lot of changing of
minds went on in an hour.

ANNE MARIA NICHOLSON: There were more politicians than usual in the finalists but all were passed
over. Also dismissed was a powerful self portrait by prominent South Australian artist, Robert
Hannaford. He revealed his struggle battling throat cancer.