(Australia, England, Spain, Portugal 21 Jan 1928– )
167.6 x 213.4cm stretcher; 171.7 x 219.0 x 5.5cm frame:
0 - Whole; 166.3 x 212cm; SIGHT DIMENSION
By 1963, John Olsen was living in a fisherman's cottage at Watson's Bay, close to the entrance of Sydney Harbour. Responding to the rhythmic topography of Sydney's distinctive landforms, Olsen painted a number of works during 1963 and 1964 which are resplendent in their vivacious use of colour.
Inspired by the lavish sculptural architecture of the Spanish architect Antonio Gaudi, whose cathedral El Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família he had seen in Barcelona, Olsen's landscapes heave and swell through a textured web of line and shapes.
He later wrote in 1973:
"I've always thought of the formation of Sydney's land forms as a bitch goddess and frankly at times it frightens me. The breasty contours of its hills ... when your [sic] sailing through the heads you feel as though your [sic] sailing through her arms - And when you are coming into her you feel you are going deeper and you are caught in her spidery net."
© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2000
Look Mar 2010, Mar 2010, 47 (colour illus.). Members what's on section
'Gentle art of shocking a staid older Sydney' by Anne Beveridge, pg. 105., Daily telegraph 09 May 2009, 09 May 2009, 105 (illus.). Exhibition review of 'Gallery A, Sydney 1964-1983'. Photograph of Olsen and Ann Lewis infront of 'Entrance to the seaport of desire'.
John Murphy (Author), Gallery A Sydney 1964 - 1983, Campbelltown, 2009, 121 (illus., detail). Exhibited at Gallery A Sydney, 1964; B&W photograph of John Olsen standing infront of this painting and Ann Lewis beside it on page 121.
Maudie Palmer (b.1944) (Editor), Encounters with Australian modern art, South Yarra, 2008, 117, 118. General reference
Gavin Wilson (Australia) (Author), Harbourlife, Sydney, 2007, 55, 16, 17 (colour illus.).
Artwise: visual arts 7-10 2004, 2004, 118, 119 (colour illus.).
The Brett Whiteley Studio (Australia, estab. 1994) (Editor), Big blue: the painted harbour (list of works), Sydney, 1997.
Sydney Harbour 2000: Environment Audit and Management 1996, 1996, cover (illus.).
Deborah Hart (South Africa; United Kingdom; Australia, b.1959) (Author), John Olsen, East Roseville, 1991, 71 (colour illus.). cat.no. 40
Brian Ladd (Australia) (Author), Alan Krell (Author), The Artist & the City, Domain, 1983, 5, 13 (colour illus.). cat.no. 28
Gary Catalano (Australia, b.1947, d.2002) (Author), The years of hope: Australian art and criticism 1959-1968, Melbourne, 1981, 52 (colour illus.).
The Artist and the City, Art Museum Armidale, 01 Nov 1983–04 Nov 1983.
The Artist and the City, Tamworth City Gallery, 08 Nov 1983–11 Nov 1983.
The Artist and the City, Manly Regional Art Gallery and Museum, 15 Nov 1983–20 Nov 1983.
The Artist and the City, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 26 Nov 1983–18 Dec 1983.
John Olsen retrospective (1991-92), National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], 01 Nov 1991–02 Feb 1992.
John Olsen retrospective (1991-92), Art Gallery of New South Wales, 08 May 1992–28 Jun 1992.
Big Blue - the painted harbour (1997), Art Gallery of New South Wales, 21 Jun 1997–29 Mar 1998.
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000.
Harbourlife: Sydney Harbour from the 1940s to recent times, Manly Regional Art Gallery and Museum, 30 Nov 2007–13 Jan 2008.
Harbourlife: Sydney Harbour from the 1940s to recent times, Macquarie University Art Gallery, 23 Jan 2008–08 Mar 2008.
Gallery A Sydney Exhibition, Campbelltown Arts Centre, 21 Mar 2009–03 May 2009.
Gallery A Sydney Exhibition, Newcastle Region Art Gallery, 09 May 2009–19 Jul 2009.