Featured Tapestries

  • admin-resources/image-tools.php?h=515&c=0&q=95&src=/Images_LargeTapestries_030910/OLSEN_RSOAF_compleated_tapestry.jpg
  • admin-resources/image-tools.php?h=515&c=0&q=95&src=/Images_LargeTapestries_030910/OLSEN_RSOAF_in_the_workshop.jpg
  • admin-resources/image-tools.php?h=515&c=0&q=95&src=/Images_LargeTapestries_030910/OLSEN_RSOAF_WIP.jpg

Rising suns over Australia Felix

John Olsen is widely considered one of Australia’s most important living artists. He is well known for his lyrical drawing featuring native Australian flora and fauna. His paintings are often constructed from multiple, meandering lines, in a signature scribbly style. An irrepressible vitality imbues his work. The paintings burst with energetic life-forms like spawning frogs, and even with the works that resemble territorial mappings, the images appear to writhe with movement as if depicting microscopic organisms in a petri dish.

Olsen was the first Australian artist to design for tapestry, working with workshops in France and Portugal in the 1960s before commencing collaboration with the Victorian Tapestry Workshop in 1981. Rising suns over Australia felix was commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and its monumental scale effectively conjures the vastness of the Australian continent.

The image was inspired on a return flight to Australia, at the exact moment when Olsen witnessed a sunrise and saw the ascending orb gradually illuminate the expansive land below. The scene is split into two distinct halves – sky and land – but in both realms the surface is dappled, suggesting the luminosity of the dawn scene.

Olsen’s work appears in all major public collections including the National Gallery of Australia, and each state gallery collection. He has held over 50 solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally. In 1970 he was commissioned to paint the Sydney Opera House mural Salute to five bells and in 2005 he won the Archibald Prize for his painting titled Self portrait janus faced.He was awarded an Order of the British Empire in 1977 and an Order of Australia in 2001.

John Olsen- Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Canberra

Collection of: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Canberra