The last of the white aussie male beret wearing painters goes to the great studio in the sky

For me the jury has always been out on John Olsen.

When I first came across his work in the early 1980’s  in the art gallery of NSW i was intrigued by his frogs and the splatter landscapes that were both new and surprising to the eye of a 19 year old who’d only seen collections in the Tate (now Tate Britain) & The National Gallery.

But as time has gone on and the only time i see an Olsen is usually a rapidly worked watercolour or print in the window of  Shapiro auctioneers on the corner of Queen & Ocean streets as another  Eastern Suburbs matron or financier heads to the graveyard or crematorium


Darlinghurst cats print


Is / was his work wanton appropriation or a real understanding of the Australian landscape. I’m never sure


Summer in You Beaut Country (1962)


He did know how to wear a beret though,



Here he is back in the day busy arting away


He also has children who live off his reflected fame, run galleries and all that sort of stuff