Esther Erlich


Esther Erlich is a Melbourne based artist celebrated for over three decades for her distinctive portraits. Expressive and alluring, Erlich’s figures demand attention from their viewers. Her provocatively beautiful faces are vivid apparitions above abstracted bodies that exist in no space or time.

Framed at an intimate distance, and locking eyes with their viewer, they seem to capture the visual experience of beholding the person you are falling in love with. Delightful contrasts in light, colour and detail only deepen the fantasy, inviting us to playfully wonder what we can know about another person, simply by looking at them.

Esther Erlich has had over 51 solo and 72 group exhibitions since 1983. She won the prestigious Doug Moran Portrait Prize (1998), the People’s Choice Award, Archibald Prize (2000) and has been a finalist in the Archibald Prize and the Portia Geach Memorial Award multiple times. She is represented in both public and private collections nationally and abroad, including the CAE Victoria, Performing Arts Museum, National Portrait Gallery, ALP Building A.C.T., and the National Library Canberra.

Most Recently Esther was featured in the publication, ‘The Female Gaze,’ by Anita Selzer. The book focuses on 20 contemporary female artists from across the globe and analyses art through women’s eyes. Esther is in esteemed company alongside artists such as fellow Australian Del Kathryn Barton. This is a great achievement for Esther and it is a wonderful acknowledgement in what is an already highly successful artistic career.


2000 People’s Choice Award, Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales; George Adams Gallery, Melbourne and Regional galleries tour
1998 Winner, Doug Moran Portrait Prize, Moran Arts Foundation, Sydney


2018 Finalist, Portia Geach Memorial Award, S.H Ervin Gallery, Sydney, NSW
2018 Finalist, Percival Portrait Painting Prize, Townsville City, QLD
2017 Finalist, Portia Geach Award, National Trust S.H.Ervin Gallery, Sydney
2017 Semi Finalist, Doug Moran National Portrait Prize, Moran Arts Foundation, Sydney
2016 Finalist, Kilgour Prize, Newcastle Art Gallery, Newcastle, NSW
2016 Finalist, Paul Guest Drawing Prize, Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo VIC
2016 Finalist, Percival Portrait Painting Prize, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, QLD


2019 Esther Erlich: AUDACIOUS, Fox Galleries, Melbourne
2018 Esther Erlich: The Female Gaze, Fox Galleries, Melbourne
2016 Esther Erlich: New Work, Frances Keevil Gallery, Sydney
2015 Frances Keevil Gallery, Sydney
2014 Invisible, Libby Edwards Galleries, Melbourne
2013 Perth Concert Hall in conjunction with Gadfly Gallery, Perth
2012 Rapscallions, Libby Edwards Galleries, Melbourne


2017 Pop Up Show, Libby Edwards Galleries, Melbourne
2016 Trailblazing Women, The Global Women’s Project, Neospace Gallery
2015 Pain/ting, Open Walls Gallery, Berlin
2014 Panter and Hall, London, UK
2014 Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing, The Croydon Centre for Art, Design & Technology, Sydney

Full CV