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Favourites: Margaret Olley & Barry Humphries choose from Australian collections

  • This event finished on 27 February 2000

15 January – 27 February 2000

Margaret Olley and Barry Humphries, both contributors to Australia’s cultural life, were among one hundred prominent Australians designated as National Living Treasures by the National Trust. Margaret Olley, best known as a still life painter and benefactor, and Barry Humphries for his theatre, film and television performances, share a strong interest in creating, collecting and museum study of the visual arts.

For this exhibition the artworks have been selected from both public and private collections in Australia covering a broad time-frame from Degas, Matisse and Bonnard to the present day.

In relation to the selection, Olley notes that the exhibition will be full of surprises and will reflect her current favourites as well as some she never tires of. ‘I have favourites in galleries all around the world which I constantly visit……I never tire of Cezanne, Derain, Degas, Bonnard, Matisse, the Fauves and the still, spiritual quality of Morandi. These are painters I have admired all my life.’

‘Rupert Bunny and Phillips Fox have echoes of nineteenth century French painting which I really love. Some other works I have chosen are by painters I have known personally – Drysdale, Dobell, David Strachan, Jean Bellette who taught me at art school.’

‘Lloyd Rees, the ‘old man of the arts’ is a favourite and Margaret Preston, who is someone I am always sorry that I did not meet. I have also included some young painters whose work greatly interests me.

Barry Humphries notes ‘ I think that there are many wonderful works in collections which are sometimes overshadowed by “star attractions”. My choice reflects the sorts of work I like to look at, things that are a little less familiar – rewarding you when you stop to look at them.’

The exhibition co-ordinated by Christine France, promises to be an exciting, eclectic showcase of painting and sculpture.


Sunday 16 January – Connoisseurship Angus Trumble, Curator of European Art, Art Gallery of South Australia on Samuel Palmer and the study of collections & Lou Klepac, publisher (Beagle Press) on Morandi, Drysdale and other favourites

Sunday 23 January – Are ‘favourites’ a philosophy or taste? Nicholas Harding, artist, on his painting & The Honourable Mr Justice Meagher, collector, on Matisse and collecting art

Sunday 30 January – How public and private ‘favourites’ interact Barry Pearce, Head Curator of Australian Art, AGNSW, on works from the AGNSW collection & Cressida Campbell, artist, on her work

Sunday 6 February  – How favourites change – keeping ahead of the trends Stephen Scheding, writer, on his book A small unsigned painting & Annette Larkin, Christies, on creating ‘favourites’

Sunday 13 February – Accompany Margaret Olley and Edmund Capon, Director, AGNSW, on a nostalgic walking tour of the exhibition

Sunday 20 February – European ‘favourites’ – how do they relate to their Australian counterparts? Rex Irwin , art dealer, on collecting and representing ‘favourites’ & Terence Maloon, curator and writer, AGNSW on European collections