Vale John Olsen

April 13, 2023

Copyright Agency is saddened to hear of the passing of John Olsen AO OBE.

Known for his distinctive painting style and depictions of landscapes, Olsen was one of Australia’s most acclaimed artists. During a career that spanned more than sixty years he won numerous awards, including the Wynne Prize in 1969 and 1985, the Sulman Prize in 1989, and the Archibald Prize in 2005. He was awarded an Order of the British Empire in 1977, and an Order of Australia in 2001.

Olsen joined Viscopy in 2000. He was instrumental in building awareness of Viscopy and its function in the arts community. Copyright Agency, through Viscopy, is proud to have had a long-standing relationship with John Olsen and is honoured to license works on his behalf – ranging from auction houses and exhibition catalogues, and merchandise for galleries, to documentary and film.

“So often he has been known by his motto, ‘I am in the landscape and the landscape is in me’. That line, over time, became indivisible with his artistic identity and in the process he changed the face of how we see this terrain. He changed the very essence of what modern landscape painting is by shrinking the sky, turning his back on conventional geometry, speaking his own language and always returning to the egg-yolk magnetic energy of the sun,” wrote Tim Olsen, in the Olsen Gallery biography of John Olsen.

In a tribute to Olsen’s esteemed career, the Sydney Opera House’s sails will light up with his vibrant paintings during this year’s Vivid Sydney festival.

Deepest condolences to John’s family and friends.

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