Armidale home for iconic Olley painting

NERAM director, Caroline Downer, Brisbane art dealer Philip Bacon and NERAM Board Chair Meg Larkin, in front of the new acquisition, Margaret Olley’s The Yellow Room Triptych. A MASTERPIECE by well-loved Australian artist, Margaret Olley, is to find a new home at the New England Regional Art Museum.

Margaret Olley, who died last year aged 88, was renowned for her colourful still lifes and intimate interiors, and also for being the subject of two Archibald Prize winning portraits, in 1948 and 2011.

The Yellow Room Triptych (2007) was unveiled at NERAM’s Foundation Dinner on Saturday night as an exciting new acquisition for the gallery.

This oil painting of an interior in Olley’s house is regarded by many in the art world as her magnum opus.

Guest speaker at the dinner, leading Brisbane art dealer and philanthropist Philip Bacon, said Olley’s wish was for it to hang in a public institution so it could be enjoyed by a wide audience of people for generations to come.

“Her genius, I think, lay in her belief that simple is better than complicated, that quiet is better than noisy and that what is close at hand is better than that which has to be sought,” Mr Bacon said.

Valued at around $440,000, the painting is to be purchased for the Howard Hinton Collection at a $40,000 discount courtesy of the Margaret Olley Art Trust.

The trust has also donated to NERAM another Margaret Olley painting, Basket of Oranges and Lemons (pictured left), as well as a limited edition set of prints which will be sold to assist with fundraising.

Long-time NERAM supporters, Packsaddle, spearheaded the initiative to purchase The Yellow Room Triptych.

Barry Pearce, emeritus curator at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, described the work as “Olley’s most iconic creation – and her first multi-paneled composition against a lifetime of single easel paintings.”

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