Adam Portraiture Award

Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the New Zealand Portrait Gallery is currently closed, and this exhibition is currently only available to view online.


Congratulations to Sacha Lees!

Winner of the 2020 Adam Portraiture Award
for Sometimes an outline coloured in

Vivienne Still for Engage

Highly Commended
Marcus Ebbett for Marcus
Stephen Lawrie for Friday after work with Emma
Duncan Pepe Long for DAVID
Lisa Munnelly for Stephen
Todd Simpson for Screwed up - A Self-Portrait

Click here to view all 50 finalists

Karen Quinlan and Linda Tyler, judges’ comments:

"Portraiture is an enduring theme for artists. The human face will always reward scrutiny. This year there were very few full body portraits and a large number of head and shoulder depictions of subjects with just a handful of artists’ self-portraits. 

While many artists have clearly relied on photographs of their subjects to gain the greatest verisimilitude, some of the most remarkable works used summary or gestural means to represent the sitter’s facial features.  

From the 373 entries, it was a challenge to reduce down to the 50 works for the exhibition of finalists. The judges were struck by the way in which many of the artists were able to communicate both national characteristics and the unique aspects of Aotearoa’s indigenous culture."

People's Choice Award

Exhibition viewers are encouraged to cast a vote for the People’s Choice Award, the winner of which will receive $2,500.

Click here to vote online



The Adam Portraiture Award is a biennial competition for painted portraits at The New Zealand Portrait Gallery, generously sponsored by the Adam Foundation. 

First Prize: $20,000
Runner up: $2,500
People’s Choice: $2,500

This year there were two judges - Karen Quinlan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery of Australia and Dr Linda Tyler, Associate Professor Art History, Museums and Cultural Heritage, University of Auckland

Conditions of Entry

Frequently Asked Questions


Previous Winners

Adam Portraiture Award

2020 - Sacha Lees | View all 2020 finalists

2018 - Logan Moffat | View all 2018 finalists

2016 - André Brönnimann | View all 2016 finalists

2014 - Henry Christian-Slane | View all 2014 finalists

2012 - Stephen Martyn Welch | View all 2012 finalists

2010 - Harriet Bright

2008 - Irene Ferguson

2006 - Freeman White

2004 - Ryuzo Nishida (Portrait not acquired)

2002 - Marianne Muggeridge (Portrait not acquired)

National Portrait Competition

2000 - Marianne Muggeridge

Since 2006 the winning artworks have been automatically acquired into the New Zealand Portrait Gallery collection.


The Adam Portraiture Award is generously funded by the Adam Foundation

Adam Foundation