A major exhibition celebrating the work of leading Australian artist Margaret Olley (1923-2011) opens at Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA).

QAGOMA Director Chris Saines said Margaret Olley: A Generous Life featured more than 100 paintings and drawings highlighting the colourful life, legacy and influence of a much-loved Australian artist. “We are thrilled to be presenting this major exhibition developed by Michael Hawker, Curator as a celebration of Olley’s extraordinary life as an artist, mentor, muse, passionate collector and donor,” Saines said.

A Generous Life highlights Olley’s formative years spent in Brisbane, her enduring love of travel and passion for portraiture, still life and interiors. The exhibition includes portraits of Margaret by other artists and select works she bought and then generously gifted to public institutions, including pictures by European artists Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Giorgio Morandi, Pablo Picasso, Édouard Vuillard and others. ‘A Generous Life’ will be shown at GOMA alongside Quilty, a touring exhibition from the Art Gallery of South Australia of 70 works by Olley’s good friend Ben Quilty.

Saines said QAGOMA had programmed these exhibitions by two different yet equally committed artists so audiences could consider their respective depth of practice, and Olley’s influence, legacy and connection to Quilty. Quilty opens Saturday 29 June. “It was Margaret who awarded Ben the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship in 2002, and whose portrait he painted to win the Archibald Prize in 2011. Earlier this month we were thrilled to have Ben at GOMA to create a series of site-specific, hand-drawn portraits of Olley,” Saines said.

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