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Archibald Prize-winning artist dies

Mon July 30, 2012 6:05am

BLUE Mountains-based artist Adam Cullen, who won the 2000 Archibald prize with his portrait of actor David Wenham, has died at the age of 47.

Cullen died in his sleep and was found by a family member on Sunday, Fairfax Media said.

The artist, who lived on his own in Wentworth Falls, had been seriously ill for some time.

Suffering a bipolar disorder, he gained some notoriety with his painting of images that included dead cats, bloodied kangaroos, headless women and punk men.

His work can be seen in many galleries around Australia including the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

In 1998, the magazine Australian Art Collector included him in its list of the country's top most collectable artists.

He was one of the finalists in this year's Archibald prize with his portrait Nelson and Koko, featuring the canine star of the film Red Dog and its owner, the producer Nelson Woss.

In 2000, he won the Archibald for his painting of actor David Wenham, prompting the then NSW Art Gallery director Edmund Capon to say: "I do think a lot of the public will look at it and say 'I think my kiddy-wink did that the other day'.

"But they would be missing its insight and maturity, knowing how and where to place the marks."

That portrait was his fourth Archibald entry, going one better than his runner-up effort the previous year - a painting of another actor, his cousin Max Cullen.

Last November, Cullen received a 10-month suspended jail sentence for drink-driving and weapons offences.

He had been convicted of driving with mid-range PCA in July 2011 in the NSW Southern Highlands.

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