We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Ceramic plate



John Olsen

Australia, England, Spain, Portugal

21 Jan 1928 – 11 Apr 2023

Artist profile

Ros Auld


  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    glazed ceramic plate
    49.0 cm diameter :

    0 - Whole, 7 cm, Height of plate from base to rim

    Signature & date

    Signed and dated on base of plate, black glaze "John/ Olsen 03".

    Gift of the artist 2003
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Estate of John Olsen/Copyright Agency

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    John Olsen

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


    Artist information
    Ros Auld

    Works in the collection


  • About

    John Olsen was first introduced to the medium of painted ceramics in the late 1960s. Olsen and Robert Mair, a young potter who had arrived from New Zealand, were living near each other on the Dunmoochin Estate at Cottles Bridge near Hurstbridge, about 33 km north of Melbourne. The chance encounter of potter and artist produced a unique body of work over a period of two years, 1969-70, where Robert Mair produced a series of ceramic works, which were decorated by Olsen. The artist was stimulated by the possibilities of the calligraphic mark using glazes on earthenware, however, he was conscious of the difficulties faced with the unpredictability of the firing process. Olsen once wrote: 'I will allow the medium to speak on its own much more. I have found the glazes very unpredictable ... so one has to enter into the spirit of chance'.

    Over the ensuing years Olsen collaborated with a number of well-known ceramic artists, including Tom Sanders, Peter Wilson and, more recently Ros Auld, who crafted this plate. The striking forms produced by these potters coupled with the inventive designs created by Olsen, have made for a body of work which is often spontaneous, sometimes unconventional and certainly distinctive.

    © Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2003

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

    • Ros Auld Ceramics, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, Bathurst, 28 Sep 2012–18 Nov 2012

Other works by John Olsen

See all 133 works