Australia Post is commemorating the centenary of the Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney, with the release of three stamps featuring unforgettable prize-winning portraits from across the decades by artists William Dobell, William Dargie and Del Kathryn Barton.
First awarded in 1921, the Archibald Prize was established following a bequest from former Art Gallery of NSW trustee and founder of The Bulletin magazine, JF Archibald (1856–1919), whose aim was to foster portraiture and support artists.
Australia Post Group Manager Philatelic Michael Zsolt said the new stamps were a fitting way to honour the annual open competition, which celebrates figures from all walks of life.
“The selected portraits are three of more than 6000 finalist works that have been shown in the Archibald Prize over the last century,” Mr Zsolt said.
Featured image – Jeffrey Smart ”Second study for Margaret Olley’ (1994) – oil on canvas on hardboard. Images below by Ben Apfelbaum (c).
The Gallery’s exhibition MARGARET OLLEY : PAINTER, PEER, MENTOR, MUSE features the work of the ‘grand woman of Australian art’ whose career spanned a period of more than sixty years.
A wonderful exhibition, curated by guest curator Renee Porter, it features over 80 works from across the country. Margaret Olley’s work features alongside some of the works of her closest teachers and friends including Caroline Barker, Robert Barnes, Jean Bellette, Mitty Lee-Brown, Criss Canning, Cressida Campbell, Margaret Cilento, William Dobell, Russell Drysdale, Moya Dyring, Donald Friend, Nicholas Harding, Fred Jessup, Ben Quilty, Jeffrey Smart,David Strachan and Anne Wienholt.
Of the exhibition Jane Watters, Director of the S.H. Ervin said,
“Margaret was a frequent visitor and supporter of the Gallery and in this show we wanted to present the spirit and vigour of this grand woman in Australian art. In many ways the show completes the circle of her championing the talents of her peers and friends which she undertook with such vivacity throughout her life.”
Philip Bacon, Executor of the Margaret Olley Trust added:
“Margaret Olley was first introduced to visual arts at Somerville House school in 1937 and this in turn led to a dedicated and prolific artistic career that she pursued right through to the time of her death in 2011. Throughout her life, Olley worked within various artistic circles that in turn developed into lifelong friendships. This exhibition illustrates these connections and her relationships with many other artists as mentor, contemporary or muse. Olley certainly left her mark, not only on paper, canvas and board, but through her connections with artists – her teachers and peers and those that continue to create today.”
The current exhibition is the first in a set of three exhibitions under the umbrella title the Margaret Olley Art Series to be presented by the S.H. Ervin Gallery over the next three years and has been made possible by the support of the Trustees of the Margaret Olley Art Trust.
The Gallery has recently announced that it is hosting a series of free Sunday afternoon talks with artists and friends through February and March to further enlighten art lovers.
Sunday 19 February at 3 pm
Renée Porter, guest curator of the exhibition talks about Margaret Olley as painter, peer, mentor, muse.
Sunday 26 February 3 pm
Christine France, arts writer, historian, curator & long-time friend of Margaret Olley, shares her memories of the artist and her friendships with other artists.
Sunday 5 March 3 pm
Artists Nicholas Harding and Cressida Campbell discuss their friendship with Margaret Olley and her legacy. They will be joined by painter Laura Jones who continues the tradition that Margaret Olley dedicated her life, in capturing the essence of still life subjects.
Sunday 12 March 3 pm
Meg Stewart, author of the Olley biography, ‘Far from a Still Life’, discusses the life of the artist.
Sunday 19 March 3 pm
Steven Alderton, Director & CEO National Art School discusses his photographic documentation of Margaret Olley’s hat factory home/ studio and his friendship with the artist.
Adding to the allure of attending this current exhibition, you can also enjoy browsing the cards and books in the Gallery’s quaint bookstore as well as enjoy a cup of coffee and a cake at the adjoining tearoom.
The current exhibition is on display at the S.H. Ervin Gallery, located within the National Trust Centre until Sunday 26 March 2017. The S.H. Ervin Gallery is located at Watson Road, Observatory Hill, The Rocks, Sydney. Opening Times: Tuesday – Sunday, 11am – 5pm (closed Monday) Enquiries: (02) 9258 0173. Cost: $10/ $7 Concession.