Australian most respected painter Margaret Olley dies

14:26, July 26, 2011      

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Australia's most loved and respected painter Margaret Olley has died in Sydney, aged 88, local media reported on Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the Art Gallery of NSW said Olley was found dead at her Paddington home in Sydney, early on Tuesday morning.

The cause of her death was unknown at this stage, the spokeswoman said.

The dean of the Sydney College of Arts at the University of Sydney, Professor Colin Rhodes, described Olley's death as "the end of an era".

"She was the last of a generation of empowering figures in Australian art," Rhodes told the Australian Associated Press (AAP).

In 1948, a portrait of her by Australian artist William Dobell won the Archibald Prize and she was also the subject of 2011 winning portrait by Australian artist Ben Quilty.

Olley was awarded the inaugural Mosman Art Prize in 1947 and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1991.

In 2006, Olley was awarded Australia's highest civilian honor, the Companion of the Order, for service as one of Australia's most distinguished artists, for philanthropy to the arts, and for encouragement of young and emerging artists.

Olley was born in Lismore in New South Wales on June 24, 1928.

Her first solo exhibition was held at Macquarie Galleries in 1948, the first of dozens to be held around the country. She also held exhibitions in Europe.

She become one of the country's most generous benefactors to public galleries, including the Art Gallery of NSW and Museum of Contemporary Art, and she held honorary doctorates from the Macquarie, Sydney, Queensland and Newcastle universities.

Olley lived alone in her Paddington home in Sydney.

Source: Xinhua
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