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Australian art

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Ceramic plate



John Olsen

Australia, England, Spain, Portugal

21 Jan 1928 -

Ros Auld



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




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


Artist information

John Olsen

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Artist information

Ros Auld

Works in the collection


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

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