ACT News

Artist John Olsen gifts Brindabellas artwork to Canberra Museum and Gallery

Australian artist John Olsen.
Australian artist John Olsen. Photo: Steven Siewert

Noted Australian artist John Olsen has become the latest benefactor to the Canberra Museum and Gallery, donating a significant new painting of the Brindabella Range.

Olsen's Brindabellas was inspired by the works of New Zealand-born landscape artist Elioth Gruner at the London Circuit museum. 

Olsen was move to paint by Gruner's depiction of the mountains titled The Dry Road, which Olsen saw after it was purchased in 2014.

His latest painting was added to the collection in a special ceremony on Tuesday night, celebrating donors to the museum's Canberra Region Treasures Fund. The fund was established to raise awareness of museum's permanent collection and to increase its capacity to secure major art works for the city of Canberra in the future.

Brindabellas will be on show until January 31 next year.

John Olsen's Brindabellas

John Olsen's Brindabellas, 2015 oil on canvas. Canberra Museum and Gallery 

Olsen, born in Newcastle in 1928, is considered one of Australia's most significant living painters. He has painted around Australia, in England, France, Portugal, Majorca, Egypt and the United States. 

Since winning fame for his abstract works in the 1950s and 1960s, Olsen has become recognised for his singular interpretations of Australia's diverse landscapes, depicting scenes of the Murray River, Lake Eyre, the Sydney sun, the Wimmera River, Lake Hindmarsh and the Australian summer. 

His works appear in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, state galleries including Melbourne's National Gallery of Victoria, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Sydney Opera House.

He won the 2005 Archibald Prize for a self portrait. In 2001 he was made a member of the Order of Australia for services to the arts, after becoming an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1977.

ACT Arts Minister Joy Burch said the Canberra Region Treasures Fund had grown the internal allocation for the purchase of artworks at the museum by about 50 per cent.

"I am hugely grateful to John Olsen for this magnificent gift painted as an expression of his connection with the landscape of our region," Ms Burch said.