Margaret Olley

Australian painter (1923-2011)

Margaret Olley ( 24 June, 1923, Lismore, New South Wales - 26 July, 2011, Paddington, New South Wales) was an Australian artist.[1][2] She was well known for generous gifts of paintings and money to public art galleries in Australia.[1] These gifts included works by Cezanne and Picasso.[3] She is also famous for being the model for portraits. Two paintings of her won the Archibald Prize; William Dobell's painting in 1948, and Ben Quilty's in 2011.[1] She was described by Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister of Australia, as a great artist and a true Australian national treasure.[2]

Margaret Olley in 2009

She grew up on sugarcane farms in Queensland, and her artistic talent was noticed at school.[4] Her teachers convinced her parents she should study art at the Brisbane Technical College.[4] She then moved to Sydney and studied art at the East Sydney Technical College.[1] She held the first of her 90 exhibitions in 1948.[1] Many of her paintings were of things around her home such as flowers and bowls of fruit.[2] In 1996 she was given Australia's highest honour, the Companion of the Order of Australia.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Morgan, Joyce (26 July 2011). "Artist Margaret Olley dead". Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Olley, painter and national treasure, dies". 26 July 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  3. Kruger, Paula (13 July 2006). "Olley donates 'birthday' Picasso to gallery - (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". ABC News. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Artist Margaret Olley dead". ABC News. 26 July 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2011.