Finalists in the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize 2006

An exceptionally high standard of entries this year forced judges to choose extra finalists for the second time in the prize's history. A total of 36 finalists - six above the normal limit - were chosen from 425 Australia-wide entries by the two Australian judges, Mr Andrew Sayers, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, and Ms Jenny Sages, a prominent Australian artist.

Andrew Sayers stated that limiting the number of finalists would have reduced the diversity and vitality of the exhibition. 'The finalists are stylistically diverse, but the vivid presence of a person is what unifies all good portraiture and that's what Jenny and I were looking for.'

'Overall, there was a simple sincerity in many of the portraits - a quiet, rather than a flamboyant mood predominated. What came through strongly for me, particularly in the finalist selection, was the artists' honest search for painterly means to express the essence of character rather than a parading of virtuosity for its own sake,' Mr Sayers said.

'A wonderful surprise for me as an artist was to see the number of entries and their high quality from names with which we as judges were unfamiliar. This has enabled us to assemble an exhibition of finalists of significant diversity which is important for Australian art,' Ms Sages said.

Kathy Alpar-Altman - Self-portrait, still life
Andrew Baines - A reflection of 90 years
Anne Barnetson - Custom mask (self-portrait)
Jason Benjamin - All the corridors, all the measuring of truth (Tony Abbott)
Danelle Bergstrom - Inspector Hobbs
Nicholas Blowers - Charlie
Paul Borg - Mai Ho: from boat person to mayor
Ann Cape - Elizabeth Cummings
Yvette Coppersmith - Korolevna
Greg Creek - Seeing Carolyn Eskdale
Esther Erlich - Nooch
Drewfus Gates - The jig is up
Chris Hall - Jane, undecided
Robert Hannaford - Arthur Shertock
Nicholas Harding - Bob Dickerson
Kenneth S Hunt - Alan Fincher, the mayor and the senior sergeant
Linda Judge - Portrait of Jodie Noble
Steve Lopes - Self-Portrait: lying low
Steve Lopes - Untitled
Marie Mansfield - Messerschmitt moment
Ted May - Ken Fargher, 3PBS FM
Kevin Murray - Lindsay Gordon, painter
Paul Newton - Portrait of Tara Moss
Sally Parnis - It's all about me
Alan Pearson - Second breath at 75 years
Evert Ploeg - Gerry Nucifora: Il Nuce
Panagiotis Protopsaltis - Panagiotis and Zoey
Sally Robinson - Ruark Lewis
Mary Scott - Self-portrait: Good Girl
Allan Shannon - Phil
Jiawei Shen - Daughter
Peter Smets - Identity
Anne Spudvilas - Martin King
Andrew Sullivan - Painter's studio
Peter Wegner - Wounded Poet 2006
Sandra Williams - Summer Portrait