Archibald finalist a study of Greer

Germaine by Liz Sullivan.

Artist Liz Sullivan has been selected as a finalist for the 2024 Archibald Prize for her portrait of Germaine Greer.

Greer is a trailblazing feminist, academic, author and conservationist, who became a household name in 1970 with her seminal, bestselling book The Female Eunuch.

She now lives in aged care near Sullivan’s home in regional Victoria, so one morning the artist and her sister paid a visit.

“I had considered asking Germaine to sit for a portrait but decided she was too formidable. In fact, she was very approachable, put us all at ease and agreed,” Sullivan said.

“Her mind fired like a fully charged battery. The only things that stayed still were her legs. She didn’t want any make-up or special clothing, just a glass of wine for both of us while I tried to keep up with her in wide-ranging discussions about politics, sport and world affairs.

“You know I don’t like portraits,” said Greer while sitting for this painting.

“Her only instruction was that she wasn’t having any input,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan, a first-time Archibald finalist, began with overlapping images, trying to match Germaine’s vitality.

“This final painting has a simplicity about it,” she said.

“Germaine’s stance and hands speak loudly, the pencil marks speak softly – a limited palette capturing both her strength and vulnerability.”