Kenneth Mackenzie Clark, Baron Clark was a British art historian, museum director, broadcaster. After running two important art galleries in the 1930s and 1940s, he came to wider public notice on television, presenting a succession of programmes on the arts during the 1950s and 1960s, culminating in the Civilisation series in 1969; the son of rich parents, Clark was introduced to the fine arts at an early age. Among his early influences were the writings of John Ruskin, which instilled in him the belief that everyone should have access to great art. After coming under the influence of the connoisseur and dealer Bernard Berenson, Clark was appointed director of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford when he was twenty-seven, three years he was put in charge of Britain's National Gallery, his twelve years there saw the gallery transformed to make it accessible and inviting to a wider public. During the Second World War, when the collection was moved from London for safe keeping, Clark made the building available for a series of daily concerts which proved a celebrated morale booster during the Blitz.
After the war, three years as Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford, Clark surprised many by accepting the chairmanship of the UK's first commercial television network. Once the service had been launched he agreed to write and present programmes about the arts; these established him as a household name in Britain, he was asked to create the first colour series about the arts, first broadcast in 1969 in Britain and in many countries soon afterwards. Among many honours, Clark was knighted at the unusually young age of thirty-five, three decades was made a life peer shortly before the first transmission of Civilisation. Three decades after his death, Clark was celebrated in an exhibition at Tate Britain in London, prompting a reappraisal of his career by a new generation of critics and historians. Opinions varied about his aesthetic judgment in attributing paintings to old masters, but his skill as a writer and his enthusiasm for popularising the arts were recognised. Both the BBC and the Tate described him in retrospect as one of the most influential figures in British art of the twentieth century.
Clark was born at 32 Grosvenor Square, the only child of Kenneth Mackenzie Clark and his wife, daughter of James McArthur of Manchester. The Clarks were a Scottish family. Clark's great-great-grandfather invented the cotton spool, the Clark Thread Company of Paisley had grown into a substantial business. Kenneth Clark senior worked as a director of the firm and retired in his mid-twenties as a member of the "idle rich", as Clark junior put it: although "many people were richer, there can have been few who were idler"; the Clarks maintained country homes at Sudbourne Hall, at Ardnamurchan and wintered on the French Riviera. Kenneth senior was a gambler, an eccentric and a heavy drinker. Clark had little in common with his father. Alice Clark was shy and distant. An only child not close to his parents, the young Clark had a boyhood, solitary, but he was happy, he recalled that he used to take long walks, talking to himself, a habit he believed stood him in good stead as a broadcaster: "Television is a form of soliloquy".
On a modest scale Clark senior collected pictures, the young Kenneth was allowed to rearrange the collection. He developed a competent talent for drawing, for which he won several prizes as a schoolboy; when he was seven he was taken to an exhibition of Japanese art in London, a formative influence on his artistic tastes. Clark was educated at Wixenford School and, from 1917 to 1922, Winchester College; the latter was known for its intellectual rigour and – to Clark's dismay – enthusiasm for sports, but it encouraged its pupils to develop interests in the arts. The headmaster, Montague Rendall, was a devotee of Italian painting and sculpture, inspired Clark, among many others, to appreciate the works of Giotto, Botticelli and their compatriots; the school library contained the collected writings of John Ruskin, which Clark read avidly, which influenced him for the rest of his life, not only in their artistic judgments but in their progressive political and social beliefs. From Winchester, Clark won a scholarship to Trinity College, where he studied modern history.
He graduated in 1925 with a second-class honours degree. In the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Sir David Piper comments that Clark had been expected to gain a first-class degree, but had not applied himself single-mindedly to his historical studies: "his interests had turned conclusively to the study of art". While at Oxford, Clark was impressed by the lectures of Roger Fry, the influential art critic who staged the first Post-Impressionism exhibitions in Britain. Under Fry's influence he developed an understanding of modern French painting the work of Cézanne. Clark attracted the attention of Charles F. Bell, Keeper of the Fine Art Department of the Ashmolean Museum. Bell became a mentor to him and suggested that for his B Litt thesis Clark should write about the Gothic revival in architecture. At that time it was a unfashionable subject. Although Clark's main area of study was the Renaissance, his admiration for Ruskin, the most prominent defender of the neo-Gothic style, drew him to the topic.
He did not complete the thesis
Ingeborg Viktoria "Inge" King was a German-born Australian sculptor. She received many significant public commissions, her work is held in private collections. Her best known work is Forward Surge at the Melbourne Arts Centre, she became a Member of the Order of Australia in January 1984. Inge King was born in Berlin on 26 November 1915, the youngest of four girls in a well-to-do Jewish family, her early childhood was typical one for a child of her time in a European city. But after World War I, conditions in Germany became difficult; the period of the Weimar Republic, though a culturally stimulating time, was never stable. Conditions were made more difficult by the hyper-inflation of the early 1920s and the depression of 1929. During that time, things became difficult for the Neufeld family. By the time King's father died in 1930, when she was 14, the family had lost most of its money, her older sisters supported her to stay at school until she finished, in 1932, which enabled her to get a good education.
She would have liked to have gone on to university to study medicine, financially, out of the question. King was 17 when Hitler came to power on 30 January 1933. Two of her older sisters, now married, decided to emigrate: one to Palestine, another to the US. By 1934, when she was 18, King was on her own, she went to live with other young people in a small Zionist commune, where she worked in exchange for board and lodging. She said of this experience: "I owe them a lot... This commune... gave me or taught me some independence, invaluable", most taught her "to survive without money". King was starting to think about being an artist, though this was a second choice, but art was something. King was influenced both by mediaeval sculpture and by Expressionist sculpture, an important part of German avant-garde art, by the work of the wood-carver, Ernst Barlach; the Nazis considered such art to be decadent and attempted to suppress it. King went to see the artist Käthe Kollwitz. Kollwitz' advice to King about a career in art was "Don't do it.
It is so difficult". King did go on, she said: "I haven’t regretted it. I agree with her, it’s difficult."King found a teacher, Hermann Nonnenmacher, a wood-carver influenced by Ernst Barlach, who taught her the basic skills of wood-carving and modelling in clay. King worked with him until she was accepted into the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts in 1937, when she was 21, one of only three non-Aryan students there, she was forced to leave about a year not long before Kristallnacht. While she was there, she supported herself by undertaking commercial work for the sculptor, Otto Hitzberger, on the staff there. King got out of Germany in 1939, with the help of German friends. One helped. Another warned her that he had received his mobilisation papers and that she should leave as soon as possible, she spent about a year in domestic service with families in southern England. She found England conservative than the Berlin she had come from; this was quite a shock. She was accepted at the Royal Academy on the basis of the drawings she had brought with her and her time at the Berlin Academy.
She spent two terms there, in 1940, before it was closed on account of the German bombing raids on London. She went to evening classes in life drawing at the London Central School of Arts and Crafts until it moved to Northampton, where there were no facilities for sculpture. King applied to the College of Art in Edinburgh, which accepted her, but Edinburgh was in a restricted area and King, as a foreign national, could not live there, they suggested. Glasgow was a quite cosmopolitan place. There had been a Jewish community there for many years, which brought intellectual and cultural energy to the Glasgow society; the war brought refugees into Britain. As Glasgow was not a protected area, it was one of the places; this brought a substantial increase in the number of Jewish residents in the city, as well as the development of a Polish community. The head of sculpture at the Glasgow School of Art was Benno Schotz. Born in Estonia of Jewish parents, he migrated to Glasgow as a young man and studied sculpture at night-classes while working for a shipbuilding company.
Being foreign-born, Schotz was not liable to be called up for war work, so the sculpture department at the School of Art functioned throughout the war. He was an excellent teacher: " had excellent rapport with his small group of students. Formal classes were held in the morning they had the studio to themselves for the rest of the day and into the evening.... Schotz had the developed technical skills of a successful practising artist and was alive to the hands-on realities of making sculpture as much as he was to the compelling political and social ideas of the times." He "supported refugees and worked throughout his life to bring their suffering to public notice. His home was a meeting place for artists, writers and cultural leaders, he was an outstanding individual: energetic, intelligent humane and charming."King entered the Glasgow School of Art in 1941. She spent three years there, she said of this time: "I was happy in Glasgow. It was the only time I could just work the way I wante
Australian art is any art made in or about Australia, or by Australians overseas, from prehistoric times to the present. This includes Aboriginal, Landscape, early-twentieth-century painters, print makers and sculptors influenced by European modernism, Contemporary art; the visual arts have a long history in Australia, with evidence of Aboriginal art dating back at least 30,000 years. Australia has produced many notable artists of both Western and Indigenous Australian schools, including the late-19th-century Heidelberg School plein air painters, the Antipodeans, the Central Australian Hermannsburg School watercolourists, the Western Desert Art Movement and coeval examples of well-known High modernism and Postmodern art; the first ancestors of Aboriginal Australians are believed to have arrived in Australia as early as 60,000 years ago, evidence of Aboriginal art in Australia can be traced back at least 30,000 years. Examples of ancient Aboriginal rock artworks can be found throughout the continent.
Notable examples can be found in national parks, such as those of the UNESCO listed sites at Uluru and Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory, the Bradshaw rock paintings in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Rock art can be found within protected parks in urban areas such as Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park in Sydney; the Sydney rock engravings are 5000 to 200 years old. Murujuga in Western Australia has the Friends of Australian Rock Art advocating its preservation, the numerous engravings there were heritage listed in 2007. In terms of age and abundance, cave art in Australia is comparable to that of Lascaux and Altamira in Europe, Aboriginal art is believed to be the oldest continuing tradition of art in the world. There are three major regional styles: the geometric style found in Central Australia, the Kimberley and Victoria known for its concentric circles and dots; these designs carry significance linked to the spirituality of the Dreamtime. William Barak was one of the last traditionally educated of the Wurundjeri-willam, people who come from the district now incorporating the city of Melbourne.
He remains notable for his artworks which recorded traditional Aboriginal ways for the education of Westerners. Margaret Preston was among the early non-indigenous painters to incorporate Aboriginal influences in her works. Albert Namatjira is an Arrernte man, his landscapes inspired the Hermannsburg School of art. The works of Elizabeth Durack are notable for their fusion of indigenous influences. Since the 1970s, indigenous artists have employed the use of acrylic paints - with styles such as the Western Desert Art Movement becoming globally renowned 20th-century art movements; the National Gallery of Australia exhibits a great many indigenous art works, including those of the Torres Strait Islands who are known for their traditional sculpture and headgear. The Art Gallery of New South Wales has an extensive collection of indigenous Australian art. In May 2011, the Director of the Place and Rock Art Heritage Unit at Griffith University, Paul Taçon, called for the creation of a national database for rock art.
Paul Taçon launched the "Protect Australia’s Spirit" campaign in May 2011 with the regarded Australian actor Jack Thompson. This campaign aims to create the first resourced national archive to bring together information about rock art sites, as well as planning for future rock art management and conservation; the National Rock Art Institute would bring together existing rock art expertise from Griffith University, Australian National University, the University of Western Australia if they were funded by philanthropists, big business and government. Rock Art Research is published twice a year and covers international scholarship of rock art. Early Western art in Australia, from 1788 onwards, is narrated as the gradual shift from a European sense of light to an Australian one; the lighting in Australia is notably different from that of Europe, early attempts at landscapes attempted to reflect this. It has been one of transformation, where artistic ideas originating from beyond gained new meaning and purpose when transplanted into the new continent and the emerging society.
The first artistic representations of the Australia scene by European artists were natural history illustrations, depicting the distinctive flora and fauna of the land for scientific purposes, the topography of the coast. Sydney Parkinson, the Botanical illustrator on James Cook's 1770 voyage that first charted the eastern coastline of Australia, made a large number of such drawings under the direction of naturalist Joseph Banks. Many of these drawings were met with skepticism when taken back to Europe, for example claims that the platypus was a hoax. In the form of copies and reproductions, George Stubbs' 1772 paintings Portrait of a Large Dog and The Kongouro from New Holland—depicting a dingo and kangaroo respectively—were the first images of Australian fauna to be disseminated in Britain. Despite Banks' suggestions, no professional natural-history artist sailed on the First Fleet in 1788; until the turn of the century all drawings made in the colony were crafted by soldiers, including British naval officers George Raper and John Hunter, convict artists, including Thomas Watling.
However, many of these drawings are by unknown artists, most notably the Port Jackson P
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city of the Australian state of Victoria, the second most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Its name refers to an urban agglomeration of 9,992.5 km2, comprising a metropolitan area with 31 municipalities, is the common name for its city centre. The city occupies much of the coastline of Port Phillip bay and spreads into the hinterlands towards the Dandenong and Macedon ranges, Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley, it has a population of 4.9 million, its inhabitants are referred to as "Melburnians". The city was founded on 30 August 1835, in the then-British colony of New South Wales, by free settlers from the colony of Van Diemen’s Land, it was incorporated as a Crown settlement in 1837 and named in honour of the British Prime Minister, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne. In 1851, four years after Queen Victoria declared it a city, Melbourne became the capital of the new colony of Victoria. In the wake of the 1850s Victorian gold rush, the city entered a lengthy boom period that, by the late 1880s, had transformed it into one of the world's largest and wealthiest metropolises.
After the federation of Australia in 1901, it served as interim seat of government of the new nation until Canberra became the permanent capital in 1927. Today, it is a leading financial centre in the Asia-Pacific region and ranks 15th in the Global Financial Centres Index; the city is home to many of the best-known cultural institutions in the nation, such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the National Gallery of Victoria and the World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building. It is the birthplace of Australian impressionism, Australian rules football, the Australian film and television industries and Australian contemporary dance. More it has been recognised as a UNESCO City of Literature and a global centre for street art, live music and theatre, it is the host city of annual international events such as the Australian Grand Prix, the Australian Open and the Melbourne Cup, has hosted the 1956 Summer Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Due to it rating in entertainment and sport, as well as education, health care and development, the EIU ranks it the second most liveable city in the world.
The main airport serving the city is Melbourne Airport, the second busiest in Australia, Australia's busiest seaport the Port of Melbourne. Its main metropolitan rail terminus is Flinders Street station and its main regional rail and road coach terminus is Southern Cross station, it has the most extensive freeway network in Australia and the largest urban tram network in the world. Indigenous Australians have lived in the Melbourne area for an estimated 31,000 to 40,000 years; when European settlers arrived in the 19th-century, under 2,000 hunter-gatherers from three regional tribes—the Wurundjeri and Wathaurong—inhabited the area. It was an important meeting place for the clans of the Kulin nation alliance and a vital source of food and water; the first British settlement in Victoria part of the penal colony of New South Wales, was established by Colonel David Collins in October 1803, at Sullivan Bay, near present-day Sorrento. The following year, due to a perceived lack of resources, these settlers relocated to Van Diemen's Land and founded the city of Hobart.
It would be 30 years. In May and June 1835, John Batman, a leading member of the Port Phillip Association in Van Diemen's Land, explored the Melbourne area, claimed to have negotiated a purchase of 600,000 acres with eight Wurundjeri elders. Batman selected a site on the northern bank of the Yarra River, declaring that "this will be the place for a village" before returning to Van Diemen's Land. In August 1835, another group of Vandemonian settlers arrived in the area and established a settlement at the site of the current Melbourne Immigration Museum. Batman and his group arrived the following month and the two groups agreed to share the settlement known by the native name of Dootigala. Batman's Treaty with the Aborigines was annulled by Richard Bourke, the Governor of New South Wales, with compensation paid to members of the association. In 1836, Bourke declared the city the administrative capital of the Port Phillip District of New South Wales, commissioned the first plan for its urban layout, the Hoddle Grid, in 1837.
Known as Batmania, the settlement was named Melbourne in 1837 after the British Prime Minister, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, whose seat was Melbourne Hall in the market town of Melbourne, Derbyshire. That year, the settlement's general post office opened with that name. Between 1836 and 1842, Victorian Aboriginal groups were dispossessed of their land by European settlers. By January 1844, there were said to be 675 Aborigines resident in squalid camps in Melbourne; the British Colonial Office appointed five Aboriginal Protectors for the Aborigines of Victoria, in 1839, however their work was nullified by a land policy that favoured squatters who took possession of Aboriginal lands. By 1845, fewer than 240 wealthy Europeans held all the pastoral licences issued in Victoria and became a powerful political and economic force in Victoria for generations to come. Letters patent of Queen Victoria, issued on 25 June 1847, declared Melbourne a city. On 1 July 1851, the Port Phillip District separated from New South Wales to become the Colony of Victoria, with Melbourne as its capital.
The discovery of gold in Victoria in mid-1851 sparked a
Figurative art, sometimes written as figurativism, describes artwork, derived from real object sources and so is, by definition, representational. The term is in contrast to abstract art: Since the arrival of abstract art the term figurative has been used to refer to any form of modern art that retains strong references to the real world. Painting and sculpture can therefore be divided into the categories of figurative and abstract, although speaking, abstract art is derived from a figurative or other natural source. However, "abstract" is sometimes used as a synonym for non-representational art and non-objective art, i.e. art which has no derivation from figures or objects. Figurative art is not synonymous with figure painting, although human and animal figures are frequent subjects; the formal elements, those aesthetic effects created by design, upon which figurative art is dependent, include line, color and dark, volume and perspective, although it should be pointed out that these elements of design could play a role in creating other types of imagery—for instance abstract, or non-representational or non-objective two-dimensional artwork.
The difference is that in figurative art these elements are deployed to create an impression or illusion of form and space, to create emphasis in the narrative portrayed. Figurative art is itself based upon a tacit understanding of abstracted shapes: the figure sculpture of Greek antiquity was not naturalistic, for its forms were idealized and geometric. Ernst Gombrich referred to the strictures of this schematic imagery, the adherence to that, known, rather than that, seen, as the "Egyptian method", an allusion to the memory-based clarity of imagery in Egyptian art. Idealization gave way to observation, a figurative art which balanced ideal geometry with greater realism was seen in Classical sculpture by 480 B. C; the Greeks referred to the reliance on visual observation as mimesis. Until the time of the Impressionists, figurative art was characterized by attempts to reconcile these opposing principles. From the early Renaissance and the Baroque through 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century painting Figurative art has broadened its parameters.
An important landmark in the evolution of figurative art is the first known reclining nude in Western painting in Sleeping Venus by Giorgione. It started a long line of famous paintings. Nicolas Poussin, a French painter in the classical style whose work predominantly features clarity and order, favors line over color, served as an alternative to the more narrative Baroque style of the 17th century, he was a major inspiration for such classically oriented artists as Jacques-Louis David, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Paul Cézanne. The rise of the Neoclassical art of Jacques-Louis David engendered the realistic reactions of Gustave Courbet and Édouard Manet leading to the multi-faceted figurative art of the 20th century. In November, 2018, scientists reported the discovery of the oldest known figurative art painting, over 40,000 years old, of an unknown animal, in the cave of Lubang Jeriji Saléh on the Indonesian island of Borneo. Abstract art Illustration Narrative art Neofigurative Art Realism Stuckism
Sir Sidney Robert Nolan was one of Australia's leading artists of the 20th century. His oeuvre is among the most prolific in all of modern art, he is best known for his series of paintings on legends from Australian history, most famously Ned Kelly, the bushranger and outlaw. Nolan's stylised depiction of Kelly's armour has become an icon of Australian art. Sidney Nolan was born in Carlton, at that time an inner working-class suburb of Melbourne, on 22 April 1917, he was the eldest of four children. His parents and Dora, were both fifth generation Australians of Irish descent. Nolan moved with his family to the bayside suburb of St Kilda, he attended the Brighton Road State School and Brighton Technical School and left school aged 14. He enrolled at the Prahran Technical College, Department of Design and Crafts, in a course which he had begun part-time by correspondence. From 1933, at the age of 16, he began six years of work for Fayrefield Hats, producing advertising and display stands with spray paints and dyes.
From 1934 he attended night classes sporadically at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School. Nolan was a close friend of the arts patrons John and Sunday Reed, is regarded as one of the leading figures of the so-called "Heide Circle" that included Albert Tucker, Joy Hester, Arthur Boyd and John Perceval. Boyd and Perceval were members of the Boyd artistic family who were centered at "Open Country", Murrumbeena. In 1938, he met and married his first wife, graphic designer Elizabeth Paterson, with whom he had a daughter, but his marriage soon broke up because of his increasing involvement with the Reeds, he joined the Angry Penguins in the 1940s, after deserting from the army during World War II. The Ern Malley hoax poems were seen by Nolan and Sunday Reed as being uncannily prescient in touching on their own personal circumstances; the Malley poems remained a real presence to him throughout his life. He painted and drew hundreds of Malley-themed works and in 1975 said it inspired him to paint his first Ned Kelly series: "It made me take the risk of putting against the Australian bush an utterly strange object."He lived for some time at the Reeds' home, "Heide" outside Melbourne.
Here he painted the first of his famous, iconic "Ned Kelly" series with input from Sunday Reed. Nolan conducted an open affair with Sunday Reed at this time although he married John Reed's sister, Cynthia in 1948, after Sunday refused to leave her husband, he had lived in a ménage à trois with the Reeds for several years and although he spoke to them, visited Heide, but once again in their lifetimes, the years there together have been seen as a dominating factor in the subsequent lives of them all. In November 1976, Cynthia Nolan ended her life by taking an overdose of sleeping pills in a London hotel. In 1978, Nolan married Mary née Boyd, youngest daughter within the Boyd family and married to John Perceval. Nolan painted a wide range of personal interpretations of historical and legendary figures, including explorers Burke and Wills, Eliza Fraser. With time his paintings of Mrs Fraser came to be associated with his growing animus towards Sunday Reed. However, when first painted on Fraser Island in 1947 after he had left Heide, he remained on friendly terms with the Reeds and sent them photos of the works for their approval.
Indeed, he gave one Fraser Island painting to Sunday Reed as a Christmas gift that year. His most famous work is a series of stylised descriptions of the bushranger Ned Kelly in the Australian bush. Nolan left the famous 1946–47 series of 27 Ned Kellys at "Heide", when he left it in charged circumstances. Although he once wrote to Sunday Reed to tell her to take what she wanted, he subsequently demanded all his works back. Sunday Reed returned 284 other paintings and drawings to Nolan, but she refused to give up the 25 remaining Kellys because she saw the works as fundamental to the proposed Heide Museum of Modern Art; because she collaborated with Nolan on the paintings. She gave them to the National Gallery of Australia in 1977 and this resolved the dispute. Nolan's Ned Kelly series follow the main sequence of the Kelly story; however Nolan did not intend the series to be an authentic depiction of these events. Rather, these episodes/series became the setting for the artist's meditations upon universal themes of injustice and betrayal.
The Kelly saga was a way for Nolan to paint the Australian landscape in new ways, with the story giving meaning to the place. Although the Depression and World War II happened during this period, Nolan decided to concentrate on something other than people struggling in life. Nolan wanted to retell the story of a hero. A hero which now has become a metaphor for humankind—the fighter, the victim, the hero—resisting tyranny with a passion for freedom. Nolan recognised that the conceptual image of the black square had been part of modern art since World War I. Nolan just placed a pair of eyes into Kelly's helmet which animates its formal shape; as in most of the series, Kelly's steel head guard dominates the composition. Nolan concentrates on the Australian outback and shows a different landscape in nearly every painting. Nolan's paintings give the audience an insight into the history of Australia but show others from the world how beautiful Australia is; the intensity of the colours of the land and bush along wit
John Olsen (Australian artist)
John Henry Olsen, AO, OBE is an Australian artist and winner of the 2005 Archibald Prize. Olsen's primary subject of work is landscape. John Olsen was born in Newcastle on 21 January 1928, he moved to Bondi Beach with his family in 1935 and began a lifelong fascination with Sydney Harbour. He attended Hunters Hill. After leaving school in 1943, he went to the Datillo Rubbo Art School in 1947 and from 1950 to 1953 studied at the Julian Ashton Art School in Sydney, Auburn School from 1950 to 1956. In 1957, a Sydney art critic raised funds for John Olsen to paint, he studied printmaking in Paris followed by two years in Spain. Olsen returned to Sydney in 1960, he wanted to represent Australian culture in such a way that the world would see the diversity in the changing outback seasons. In 1968, Olsen set up and ran the Bakery Art School and in 1970, he was commissioned by the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation to paint a large mural entitled,'Salute to Five Bells', inspired by Kenneth Slessor's poem and completed in 1973.
Olsen's work has been marked by a deep engagement with the Australian landscape and he has lived for long periods in different parts of the country and travelled in it. He has served on the boards of the Art Gallery of the National Art Gallery, his artworks include the Lake Eyre series. He is a regular visitor to Lake Eyre, in 2011 had been invited to be a member of the party in which Paul Lockyer and two other ABC employees died in a helicopter crash at the lake, but declined due to ill-health, he offered a painting and a poem in memory of those killed. More recent works include Clarendon. One of Olsen's most successful murals, Salute to Five Bells, is in the Sydney Opera House. Although he has been labelled as an abstract artist, Olsen rejects this label, stating, "I have never painted an abstract painting in my life", he describes his work as "an exploration of the totality of landscape". Olsen published his diaries, under the title'Drawn From Life', in 1997. Olsen's book My Salute to Five Bells which contains the artist's thoughts, diary entries and his original drawing for the work, was published by the National Library of Australiain 2015.
Olsen is well known for including frogs in many of his works. In 2013, he began work on his largest painting since Salute to Five Bells. Eight metres by six metres wide, on eight panels, The King Sun was hung in Collins Square in the Melbourne Docklands; the work depicts a brilliant Australian sun. Olsen and his work on the mural are the subject of 2014 documentary The King Sun, directed by New Zealander Tony Williams. In Australia's New Year's Honours of 1977, Olsen was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, in 1993 he was awarded an Australian Creative Fellowship and in the Australia Day Honours of 2001 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia, he was awarded the Centenary Medal on 1 January 2001. He was awarded the Wynne Prize in both 1969 and 1985. In 1989, Olsen won the Sulman with his work "Don Quixote enters the Inn"He won the 2005 Archibald Prize for his portrait Self portrait Janus Faced. Olsen has described his approach to painting as "taking the line for a holiday:" He says: "It's an interrogatory line, you know: I'm asking a question.
The line says'Move me this way,' and I say,'Yes? Really? Okay. If you want to go this way, okay.' " He waves his hand gently. "Then it says,'No, little bit that way."All right, I'll move you that way."No."All right, all right. We'll participate.' Olsen lives near New South Wales. His son Tim is a gallery owner in Sydney and his daughter Louise designs jewellery. Daughter Jane Olsen, died in 2009. John Olsen on Artabase National Gallery Victoria John Olsen