RED ROOM AND VISITOR, 2001

Important Australian Fine Art + International Art
Melbourne
27 November 2019
55

MARGARET OLLEY

(1923 – 2011)
RED ROOM AND VISITOR, 2001

oil on board

76.0 x 76.0 cm

signed lower right: Olley
bears inscription verso: 11.

Estimate: 
$45,000 – 65,000
Sold for $61,000 (inc. BP) in Auction 59 - 27 November 2019, Melbourne
Provenance

Philip Bacon Galleries, Brisbane (label attached verso)
Private collection, Hobart

Exhibited

Margaret Olley, Philip Bacon Galleries, Brisbane, 27 November – 22 December 2001, cat. 11

Literature
Catalogue text

Unswayed by the tide of late Modernism, Margaret Olley was forever steadfastly devoted to humble still-life and interior scenes. As observed by Olley's dear friend Edmund Capon, ‘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 Painted at the Paddington home of her friend, the Sydney art dealer, Brian Moore, Red Room and Visitor, 2001 is a wonderful example of Olley’s masterful manipulation of light and space.

Red Room and Visitor has a similar sensibility to the domestic interior paintings by Edouard Vuillard and Pierre Bonnard. Utilising the intimiste style pioneered by these French artists, Olley examines the hidden riches of a private world. ‘An interior will result in a portrait of the person who lives there, but it is also to do with approaching the room as if it was a person whose portrait you’re painting’.2 The viewer is invited to explore the kilim rugs underfoot, chinoiserie chests, Spanish jugs and wooden furniture, imbuing equal significance to everyday treasures as the people that sporadically visited such paintings. The artist endlessly found magic in the unremarkable, revelling in the beauty of her Paddington terrace home. The warmth and congeniality found in Red Room and Visitor reflects the very essence of the artist's own domestic existence.

1. Capon, E., quoted in Pearce, B., Margaret Olley, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1996, p. 7
2. Olley, M., quoted in Stewart, M., Margaret Olley: Far from a Still Life, Random House Australia, Melbourne, 2005, p. 427