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'Margaret Olley's life began in the tropics of north Queensland on a cane and dairy farm. But her family was soon on the move, first to the Tweed in New South Wales, then to Brisbane. During her last years at school, Margaret's artistic talent became apparent and she was encouraged to apply to study art formally.
So, in Sydney in the early 1940s, her life-long love affair with painting began. Here, too, she met artists such as Russell Drysdale, Donald Friend, David Strachan and William Dobell, with whom she would form enduring friendships. In 1948 William Dobell asked if she would sit for him and the resulting portrait won the Archibald Prize, just as she was setting off overseas. Bohemian adventures in Europe followed.
Margaret travelled - sketch book in hand - in England, France, Italy and Spain, and lived on a vineyard in Cassis in the south of France. But in 1953 she returned to Australia struggling with her drinking and was forced to choose to dry out or dry up creatively. Once she'd made her decision, her return to life and painting was joyous.
Nowadays, despite a recent bout of profound depression, when not only did she want to give up painting but also living, she still produces magnificent art, donates to our galleries and entertains in her notoriously cluttered Paddington terrace in Sydney.
This is a rich and comprehensive look at eighty-odd years of Margaret Olley - at her lovers and friends, and, of course, her painting. It is glorious proof that indeed her life has been far from still. (Publisher's blurb)