Margaret Olley (1923-2011) Hawkesbury Wildflowers and Pears I, 1973

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Lot 33
Margaret Olley
(1923-2011)
Hawkesbury Wildflowers and Pears I, 1973

Sold for AU$ 159,900 (US$ 111,653) inc. premium

Important Australian Art

17 Nov 2021, 18:00 EST

Sydney

Margaret Olley (1923-2011)
Hawkesbury Wildflowers and Pears I, 1973
signed lower left: 'Olley 73'
oil on board
91.5 x 96.5cm (36 x 38in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE
    Holdsworth Galleries, Sydney
    Private collection, Sydney

    EXHIBITED
    Margaret Olley, Holdsworth Galleries, Sydney, 2 - 20 October 1973, cat. 11
    The Art of Margaret Olley, S.H. Ervin Gallery (touring to Brisbane and Lismore), Sydney, 3 August - 9 September 1990, cat. 26

    LITERATURE
    Christine France, Margaret Olley, Craftsman House, New South Wales, 1990, pl. 20 and p. 101 (illus.)

    RELATED WORKS
    Hawkesbury Wildflowers, 1973, oil on board, 82.0 x 102.5cm, in the collection of the Australian National University, Canberra
    Hawkesbury Wildflowers and Pears II, 1973, oil on board, 76.0 x 101.5cm, in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

    Margaret Olley's still life paintings from the 1970s exude a calm stillness and appear as an homage to the inherent beauty of simple things. Hawkesbury Wildflowers and Pears I, 1973 is part of a succinct group of still life paintings from a period in which Olley almost exclusively painted arrangements of her white porcelain set among her beloved native flowers, fruits and vegetables. In these works she sought an evenness of tone and subtle colour harmonies all bathed in a soft morning or evening light. The present work features the distinctive blue and white pitcher and comport with pears on a dark sideboard positioned against a blue wall that also appear in Hawkesbury Wildflowers and Pears II, 1973 in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and Hawkesbury Wildflowers, 1973 in the collection of the Australian National University, Canberra, both painted in the same year.

    As her friend and admirer Edmund Capon observed of the artist, 'Still-lifes and interiors are her métier, and Margaret Olley is a part of that tradition, from Vermeer in the seventeenth century to Morandi in the twentieth century - two of her most admired artists - which finds inspiration, beauty and a rich spirit of humanity in the most familiar of subject matter.' 1 She was a great arranger of her renowned household 'clutter', most of which was collected on her numerous painting and study trips overseas through Europe, Asia and Oceania. From such a tangle of memento and divers keepsakes she was able to pare back and edit her arrangements so that a balance and harmony was attained leaving only form, colour and light to shape the composition. Not only did she approach her subject with great sensitivity and appreciation for the unassuming beauty of the objects portrayed, she was able to capture a sense of silence and timelessness that resonates throughout her works such as Hawkesbury Wildflowers and Pears I .

    1 Edmund Capon, as quoted in Barry Pearce, Margaret Olley, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1996, p. 7

    We gratefully acknowledge the kind assistance of The Olley Project, courtesy of The Margaret Olley Trust and Philip Bacon Galleries, Brisbane, in cataloguing this work.
Contacts
Margaret Olley (1923-2011) Hawkesbury Wildflowers and Pears I, 1973
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