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Ben Quilty Biography, Wife, Family, Art Works

Ben Quilty is an Australian contemporary artist known for his powerful and dynamic artworks that often explore themes of identity, social issues, and the human condition. Born on March 11, 1973, in Sydney, Australia, he has gained significant recognition for his distinctive style and thought-provoking subjects. Ben has been known as one of Australia’s most famous living artists. He has won many awards for his remarkable paintings. He has achieved success in his life through hard work and struggle. 

Birth NameBen Quilty
Age 50 years
Birth PlaceSydney, New South Wales, Australia
Current ResidenceRobertson, Australia
Marital statusMarried
PartnerKylie Needham
Parents N/A
EducationBachelor’s degree in Visual Arts in Painting
Networth$10 Million

Early Life:

Ben Quilty was born in 1973 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Quilty was born in Kenthrust, Sydney, Australia. He was born into a Christian family. His father used to work in a company. His mother was a housewife by profession. He started taking an interest in painting in childhood. He used to do a lot of artwork throughout the day. Growing up in his youth, he wanted to become a famous painter.


Ben Quilty gained education at Kenthurst Public School and Oakhill College, where he exhibited his HSC artwork in ARTEXPRESS in 1991. Ben was selected as the Julian Ashton Summer School Scholarship recipient.

After high school, Quilty was interested in art and obtained a Bachelor of Visual Arts in Painting from Sydney College of the Arts at the University of Sydney, graduating in 1994. He gained a Certificate in Aboriginal Culture and History in 1996. He studied visual communication, design and women’s studies at Western Sydney University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 2001.

Personal Life:

Kylie Needham is a screenwriter whose work has been published in prestigious literary journals. She is Ben Quilty Wife. The couple lives in Southern Highlands with their children. Ben Quilty is known to have a son named Joe and a daughter named Liv. He occasionally shares moments from his family life on social media platforms. Quilty’s primary residence is in the Southern Highlands region of New South Wales, Australia. The natural surroundings and landscapes of this area often influence his work.

Quilty has been open about his artistic process and the emotional investment he puts into his artwork. His paintings often reflect his thoughts, feelings, and responses to various issues.

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Ben Quilty was given the Brett Whiteley Traveling Art Scholarship in 2022. He became popular in the world of painting due to this scholarship. He then adopted painting profession full-time.

He was sent to Kabul, Train Kowt, and Khandhar, Afghanistan, with the Australian Defense Force from 11 October to 3 November 2011. He had obtained information about the war experience of the Australian Army. After this, he came to Australia and made a painting for the Australian War Memorial within six months.

Ben Quilty Artwork:

Ben Quilty is a contemporary Australian artist whose thickly painted landscapes and portraits have attained international fame. Working in a highly expressive and naturalistic style, Ben aims to express the emotional qualities of places and people through his gestural application of paint. His use of visible brush marks recalls the techniques of artists such as Frank Auerbach and  Lucian Freud, though he remains distinctive in Quilty’s vivid use of spectral colour.

Ben Quilty Painting:

Quilty is known for his innovative style of  Ben Quilty oil painting and a range of topics which includes portraits (he won the Archibald Prize for his portrayal of artist and friend Margaret Olley), examination of the expression of psychological interiors, masculine culture, and others which show his engagement with a range of social issues, such as the asylum seekers, death penalty,  and massacres of migrated Australians.

Ben Quilty Portraits:

Ben Quilty is renowned for his captivating and emotionally charged portrait paintings. Ben Quilty portraits often emphasize his subjects’ psychological and emotional aspects, capturing their inner thoughts and struggles. Here are a few notable examples of his portrait work:

  • “Self Portrait” (2009): Quilty confronts his identity and emotions with raw honesty in this reflective self-portrait. The painting showcases his signature thick, impasto brushwork and intense colours.
  • “Margaret Olley” (2011): This portrait of Australian painter and philanthropist Margaret Olley won Quilty the Archibald Prize in 2011. The picture captures Olley’s vibrant personality and artistic spirit, reflecting their close friendship.
  • “Michael Hutchence” (2009): Quilty’s portrait of the late INXS frontman Michael Hutchence is a haunting depiction that captures both Hutchence’s fame and inner struggles.
  • “Captain Kate Porter, After Afghanistan” (2012): This portrait is part of Quilty’s “After Afghanistan” series, which portrays Australian soldiers who served in Afghanistan. The painting conveys war’s emotional weight and psychological toll on its subjects.
  • “My Son, Joe” (2018): In this touching portrayal of his son, Quilty captures the vulnerability and innocence of childhood. The portrait is characterized by its empathetic and emotional approach.
  • “Johnny Lew” (2019): This portrait of Quilty’s friend and fellow artist, Johnny Lew, reveals the intensity of the subject’s gaze and the complexity of his emotions. The painting showcases Quilty’s ability to capture the depth of human experience.

Ben Quilty’s portrait paintings often go beyond mere representation; they delve into his subjects’ inner lives and emotional landscapes. Through his expressive brushwork and intense use of colour, he brings out complex stories and emotions beneath the surface. His portraits are not just likenesses; they are windows into the souls of those he portrays.

Net Worth Of Ben Quilty:

 As of 2023, Ben has a net worth of approximately $5 Million. Both He and Margaret Olley are award-winning Australian painters. 

Ben Quilty Awards And Honors:

  • Archibald Prize
  • Prudential Eye Award
  • National Artists Self Portrait Prize
  • Doug Moran National Portrait Prize. 
  • Metro 5 Art Prize, Melbourne
  • Winner, Redlands Art Prize, National Art School Gallery, Sydney


  • Is Andrew Quilty related to ben quilty?

Andrew Quilty and Ben Quilty are not directly related. They share the same last name.

  • Who is Ben Quilty?

Ben Quilty is an Australian contemporary artist known for his expressive and emotionally charged paintings that often address themes of identity, conflict, and the human experience. He gained recognition for his distinct style, characterized by bold brushwork, thick impasto, and a raw, dynamic approach to his subjects. 

  • Why did Ben Quilty paint Margaret Olley?

Ben Quilty painted Margaret Olley, an Australian painter and philanthropist, as a tribute and a representation of their close friendship. His portrait of Margaret Olley won the prestigious Archibald Prize in 2011.

  • Where does Ben Quilty work?

Ben Quilty primarily works as an independent artist. He has had exhibitions in various galleries and museums internationally and is often involved in solo and group exhibitions to showcase his artworks.

  • How many children does Ben Quilty have?

Ben Quilty has two children, a son named Joe and a daughter named Liv. He occasionally shares insights into his personal life and family on his social media accounts, but specific details may be private.

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