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Meet the philanthropists behind Australia’s richest prize for landscape art

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Don Neil and Annette Reynolds, owners of Hadley’s Orient Hotel, have launched a new art prize that they hope will create a legacy to benefit Australian artists and be another reason to visit Tasmania. The Hadley’s Art Prize, Hobart will provide one of the world’s richest prizes for landscape art with the winning entry receiving $100 000 and an exhibition of finalists work to be displayed at the iconic hotel after which the prize is named.

Hadley’s was opened in 1834 and has long played an integral role in the cultural life of Hobart with a rich history of art exhibitions, a meeting place in the 1920s and 30s of the Art Society of Tasmania and has a long history of supporting contemporary art festivals and events. They have recently collaborated with the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and the Royal Society of Tasmania to display high quality reproductions of works on paper by John Skinner Prout, Louisa Ann Meredith and Francis Guillemard Simpkinson De Wesselow – who were all key artists in 19th century Tasmania.

Don Neil

Don Neil

Don was raised on a farm in rural Victoria and started his work life on the factory floor of a shoe manufacturer. His lifetime of work and success in business lead to the purchase of the Hadley’s Orient Hotel from receivers in 2013 and the job of restoring the hotel began. He formed an expert advisory panel to fulfil a vision to sympathetically refurbish the hotel and be the best restored heritage hotel in Australia.

His love of Hadley’s and its history is evident and despite getting an ‘E’ for art at school, his love of place is part of the inspiration for the Hadley’s Art Prize, Hobart. Don has been strongly influenced by the contribution to Tasmanian life that David Walsh has made by establishing the Museum of Old and New Art, Dark Mofo and Mona Foma and the impact and confidence it has instilled in the local entrepreneurs and business leaders. He recognises that Tasmania’s arts and cultural reputation is growing stronger every day and that by providing such a substantial art prize, the Prize’s exhibition of finalists is likely to include some of Australia’s most outstanding artists and further draw attention to Tasmania’s place as a rich and diverse destination for exciting cultural activity.

Tasmania has a rich and complex history of landscape art, and the theme of the 2017 The Hadley’s Art Prize, Hobart is ‘history and place’. The theme aims to celebrate painting and drawing by Australian artists whose work connects with place through the past including through family histories, cultural traditions, or tracing events, memories and stories in the land. The prize will be judged by a panel of highly respected experts including Dr Julie Gough, Roger Butler AM and Lisa Slade.

The winner will be announced on 14 July with an exhibition of finalist’s work at Hadley’s Orient Hotel from 15 July to 25 August, 2017.