Margaret Hannah Olley

Australia / 1923 - 2011 / wikipedia
Margaret Hannah Olley AC (24 June 1923 – 26 July 2011); Australian painter. She was the subject of more than 90 solo exhibitions.

Margaret Olley was born in Lismore, New South Wales. She was the eldest of 3 children of Joseph Olley and Grace (née Temperley). She attended Somerville House in Brisbane during her high school years and was so focused on art that she dropped one French class in order to take another art lesson. In 1941, Margaret commenced classes at Brisbane Central Technical College and then moved to Sydney in 1943 to enroll in an Art Diploma course at East Sydney Technical College where she graduated with A-class honours in 1945.

Her work concentrated on still life. In 1997 a major retrospective of her work was organised by the Art Gallery of New South Wales. She received the inaugural Mosman Art Prize in 1947.

On 13 July 2006 she donated more works to the Art Gallery of New South Wales; her donations included more than 130 works worth $7 million.

...Of the last paintings that Olley did before her death, 27 were exhibited at Sotheby's Australia in Woollahra in an exhibition entitled The Inner Sanctum of Margaret Olley that opened on 2 March 2012. Olley had put the final touches on the show the day before she died and Philip Bacon, who had exhibited her work for decades, had prepared a catalogue to show her that weekend. The opening night was attended by about 350 people among whom were the Governor-General of Australia, Quentin Bryce, who gave an address, in which she said that Olley's work was often just like the artist, "filled with optimism". Other attendees at the opening included Penelope Wensley, the Governor of Queensland, Edmund Capon, Ben Quilty and Barry Humphries.

Olley died at her home in Paddington in July 2011, aged 88. She never married and had no children. Her Paddington home sold for over three million dollars in July 2014.
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Suzan Hamer


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