Important Australian + International Fine Art
30 April 2014


born 1928

watercolour and crayon on paper

99.0 x 121.0 cm

signed and inscribed lower left: John Olsen / The Little River

$35,000 - 45,000
Sold for $52,800 (inc. BP) in Auction 35 - 30 April 2014, Melbourne

Tim Olsen Gallery, Sydney
Private collection, Melbourne

Catalogue text

The following excerpts are from Hart, D., John Olsen, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1991:

'During the 1970s, John Olsen's work was largely shaped by the journeys he made to a range of locations around Australia. In contrast with the stereotypes of the bush as an endless spectrum of gumtrees, or of the interior as an alienating place of "fearful sameness", Olsen discovered the immense diversity of the country - in its rainforests, wetlands, estuaries and lily ponds ...'1

'Olsen continued to explore this sense of the burgeoning water world after repeated visits to North Queensland during the 1970s and into the 1980s ... Olsen later summed up his feelings about these environments: "Working on these projects really altered my way of looking at things because I could see not only bird-life but a whole range of biology. It is so staggeringly fragile. You have to have the estuaries and the waterlands to have the birds, the frogs, the crustaceans. In David Attenborough's film series he indicates that life really began in the water and after thousands of years creatures left the water. There is still in those beautiful lily ponds that whole kind of structure that is the beginning of life.'2

1. Hart, op. cit., p. 123
2. ibid., p. 129