Still life 1986
Oil on composition board, 83.5 x 109 cm
Ipswich Art Gallery Collection. Acquired with funds donated by CS Energy through the Ipswich Art Gallery Foundation, 1999

Margaret Olley painted still lifes almost exclusively. Although this genre of painting has remained out of fashion in the art world for long periods of time, Olley was renowned for pursuing her own vision irrespective of current trends and fashions. Olley was widely traveled and the influences of great European masters from Vermeer to Bonnard are evident in her work. However, the intense colour of her palette is drawn from sub-tropical Australia. In Still life, the flowers and fruit seem to glow against the background and are infused with energy. This celebratory painting reveals Olley’s mastery of colour and pictorial composition and was awarded the Aberdare Art Prize for still life at the Ipswich Regional Art Gallery in 1986. Born in Lismore in 1923, Olley enjoyed an illustrious career and was widely regarded as one of Australia’s most respected and prolific painters. Margaret Olley passed away in 2011.