Esther Erlich

Esther Erlich

Erlich's iconic style is raw, vital and spontaneous, yet also displays the skill and gloss of a well-seasoned artist. It is the brilliant combination of striking, even haunting portrait-like features with the light, grace and somewhat abstract fluidity of her more decorative style that makes her work so inspiring. Be it in the muted haze of a retreating figure, the subtle turn of an outstretched ankle, or the provocative expression of her subject, Erlich brings us face to face with our own reality, but softens the blow with a hint of froth and bubble.

Esther Erlich is best known for her gritty style of portraiture. In 1998 she won the prestigious Doug Moran Portrait Prize, has been a finalist in the Portia Geach Memorial Award and the Archibald Prize multiple times.

Cleverly, the artist manages to hold our attention with the intense stare of her subject, whilst seducing us with the sometimes frivolous but eternal search for beauty. Erlich's artistic career spans 28 years and she is represented in both public and private collections nationally and abroad, including the CAE, Victoria, Performing Arts Museum, National Portrait Gallery , ALP Building, A.C.T., and the National Library, Canberra.


Since 1983, Esther Erlich has exhibited extensively both in Australia and internationally in Japan (1993) and Hong Kong (2003 & 2007), totalling more than 30 solo exhibitions and 22 group exhibitions. Of these, seventeen solo exhibitions have been held with Libby Edwards Galleries in Melbourne, Portsea, Sydney and Brisbane.

Winner of:

The Doug Moran Portrait Prize 1998; Winner Archibald Peoples’ Choice 2000, Dobell Drawing Prize Finalist 2007 & Charlatan Ink Prize Finalist 2011 (New York)

Selected Group Exhibitions

2012 Femme Fatales, Libby Edwards Galleries Melbourne

2012 Small Works Group Show, Libby Edwards Galleries Melbourne

2011 Contempo, Libby Edwards Galleries Melbourne
2007 Libby Edwards Galleries in Hong Kong
2006 ART Singapore (Singapore Art Fair)
2005 Lost and Found: Curators and Artist’s Display from the archives of the Women’s Art
Register, Federation Square, RMIT Gallery, Gertrude Contemporary Art Space, Melbourne.
2004 Precious Platters, Jewish Museum of Australia, Melbourne.
2003 Superstars Unzipped: Jeans for Genes Retrospective, Sydney Town Hall.
2002 Generations: Jeans for Genes, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.
2001 Portraits 2001: An Australian Odyssey, National Touring Exhibition, Australia.
1999 Jeans for Genes, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.
1998 On a Clothesline, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.
1993 International Women’s Exhibition, Kyushu, Japan.

Solo Exhibitions

2012 Rapscallions, Libby Edwards Galleries Melbourne

2011 Curiouser, Libby Edwards Galleries Melbourne

2010 Laughing Stock, Libby Edwards Galleries Melbourne
2009 Raising Eyebrows, Libby Edwards Galleries Melbourne
2009 Gadfly Gallery (Perth)
2008 Subtext Libby Edwards Galleries Brisbane
2008 Tiaras and Boxing Gloves Libby Edwards Galleries Sydney
2007 Ties that Bind Libby Edwards Galleries Melbourne
2006 Modest Libby Edwards Galleries Sydney
2006 Emancipated Libby Edwards Galleries Sydney
2005 Perth Concert Hall
2005 Gadfly Gallery Perth
2004 Libby Edwards Galleries Melbourne
2004 Barry Newton Gallery Adelaide
2003 Libby Edwards Galleries Sydney
2003 Portraits Retrospective Melbourne
2003 Bark Modern Art Hong Kong
2002 Barry Newton Gallery Adelaide
2002 Gadfly Gallery Perth
2002 Libby Edwards Galleries Melbourne
2002 Libby Edwards Galleries Sydney
2001 Libby Edwards Galleries Sydney
2000 Libby Edwards Galleries Sydney
2000 Libby Edwards Galleries Melbourne
1999 Libby Edwards Galleries solo
1999 Libby Edwards Galleries Sydney
1998 Mary Place Gallery Sydney
1998 Retrospecta II Motorworks Gallery
1997 Libby Edwards Galleries Melbourne
1996 Convent Gallery Daylesford
1994 Libby Edwards Galleries South Yarra
1994 Barry Newton Gallery Adelaide
1993 New Robin Group Japan
1993 Libby Edwards Galleries South Yarra
1993 Barry Newton Gallery Adelaide
1992 Barry Newton Gallery Adelaide

Major Prizes

2014 The Rick Amor Drawing Prize Finalist

2014 The Adelaide Perry Drawing Prize Finalist
2012 Black Swan Price for Portraiture, Perth

2011 Charlatan Ink Prize, New York
2009 Banyule Works on Paper Award Finalist
Exhibited in the 2009 James Farrell Invitation Self Portrait Award (Castlemaine Art Gallery)
2009 Black Swan Art Prize (WA) Finalist
2009 Archibald salon des Refuse (National Trust SH Ervin Gallery Sydney) Finalist
2008 Black Swan art prize (WA) Finalist
2008 Archibald Prize Salon de Refuse
2007 Hutchins art Prize Finalist
2007 Whyalla Art Prize Finalist
2007 Portia Geach Memorial Award Finalist
2007 Dobell Prize Finalist
2007 Archibald Prize Finalist
2006 Portia Geach Award Finalist
2006 Doug Moran Finalist
2005 Archibald Prize 2005 Finalist
2005 Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize Finalist
2005 Banyule Works on Paper Award Finalist
2002 Archibald Prize 2002 Finalist
2002 Archibald Prize Salon de Refuse
2002 Portia Geach Memorial Award Finalist
2001 Portia Geach Memorial Award Finalist
2000 Winner Archibald People’s Choice Award (Sydney)
2000 Archibald Prize 2000 Finalist
2000 Portia Geach Memorial Award Finalist
1999 Portia Geach Memorial Award Finalist
1998 Winner 1998 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize
1996 Portia Geach Memorial Award Finalist
1990 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize Finalist
1989 Winsor Newton Art Prize (Sydney) Finalist

Public Aquisitions
National Portrait Gallery: The Hon Jim Carlton AO with Cravat
Tweed Valley Regional Art Gallery: Gaunt and Glorious (Steve Monaghetti)
Holocaust Museum Victoria: Mr Soclovitz
ALP Building, Canberra: Barry Jones
Royal Overseas League Australia: Nine Two Nine
Victorian Arts Centre: Lynne Golding
Council for Adult Education: Warming Up
MacRobertson Girls’ High School: Leslie Boston
Australian National Library: Louis Kahan, Andrew Sibley, Study for Gaunt and Glorious
Hutchins Foundation Collection, Tasmania

Select Publications and Media
2005 Rosalie Higson, “Portraiture gives pollies the Brush”, The Australian, April 22, 2005.
2002 Peter Munro, “Fame’s Ok, but we’re looking for “grippers”,
The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 May, 2002.
2000 Jennifer Sexton, “$50K for Leak and a spitting image”, The Australian, 1 May, 2000.
1999 Bruce James, “The Cheek of It: Portia Geach Memorial Award”,
The Sydney Morning Herald, November 6, 1999.
1999 Peter Ross, Let’s face it: the history of the Archibald Prize,
Art Gallery of NSW: Sydney, 1999.
1998 Alison Barclay, “Glorious Monneghetti”, The Herald Sun, October 30, 1998.
1995 Who’s Who of Australian Visual Artists,
D.W. Thorpe and National Association for the Visual Arts: Port Melbourne, 1995.
1991 Esther Erlich, “How Line Emphasises Movement”,
Australian Artist, No. 90: Australia, December, 1991.
1990 Portraits of Australia, exhibition catalogue,
Doug Moran National Portrait Prize Collection: Australia, 1990.
1985 Video into Art Series, Esther Erlich, Schmeling Artvideo: Australia, 1985.