Margaret's Gift


Margaret’s Gift is an exhibition that acknowledges and celebrates the generous legacy of Australia’s beloved artist Margaret Olley AC (1923-2011).

Regarded as an accomplished painter of still life and interiors, Olley was also a generous donor giving over 380 works to galleries. Margaret Olley made her first donation of 4 eating bowls from the Middle Sepik River to the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1984 and she continued to give generously up until the time of her death in 2011 and following through bequests.

Guest curated by Renée Porter, the S.H. Ervin Gallery presents an exhibition of over 65 works from public art galleries and museums that were either donated directly by Margaret Olley or were acquired as a result of her contribution. Margaret wanted to make giving “contagious” so by presenting this selection of works we hope to honour her with an exhibition that highlights her philanthropy.

Margaret Olley’s work features alongside that of her teacher Jean Bellette, early friends Margaret Cilento and Anne Wienholt, works by European masters such as Goya, Edouard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard, Edgar Degas, Paul Cezanne, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Giorgio Morandi, Australians abroad John Russell and Ethel Carrick Fox, her Australian peers Roy de Maistre, Russell Drysdale, Justin O’Brien, David Strachan, Lloyd Rees, Oliffe Richmond, Jeffrey Smart, Kevin Connor, and younger artists whose work she admired such as Cressida Campbell, Nicholas Harding and Ben Quilty.

An extensively-illustrated colour catalogue features works in the exhibition and essays by curator Renée Porter and Barry Pearce, Emeritus Curator of Australian Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, with recollections by Joseph Eisenberg OAM and Christine France, along with a comprehensive list of her donations, will be available.

Supported by the Margaret Olley Art Trust.


S. H. Ervin Gallery @ 2 Watson Rd, Millers Point NSW 2000


$12 general/ $10 concession / $4 members / children under 12 free


9258 0173 /

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