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Salute to Five bells [manuscript] : John Olsen's Opera House journal, 1971-1973
Bib ID 4561909
Format ManuscriptManuscript, OnlineOnline
Olsen, John, 1928-
Online Versions
Access Conditions Available for research. Not for loan. 
Description [1971-1973] 
1 folio (82 x 61 cm.) 

Olsen, John, 1928- Manuscripts of John Olsen.


Original manuscript of "Salute to Five bells: John Olsen's Opera House journal", 1971-1973, published in 1973 by Angus and Robertson, containing original drawings and a manuscript account of the production of the Sydney Opera House mural.


Artist. John Henry Olsen was born in Newcastle, New South Wales, in 1928 and first studied under John Passmore. His early travel and work overseas, 1957-1960, resulted in his work being subject to experiences of European art and Mediterranean influences. Thematically his aim was to display Australian culture to a world which would see diversity in its changing seasons. Later extensive travels in Africa, Europe and across Australia steered him towards an environmental and ecological focus, evident in You beaut country (1961). He rejected the title "abstract artist", preferring to describe his work as "an exploration of the totality of landscape".

He received a commission from the Dobell Foundation in 1970 to paint the Sydney Opera House mural Salute to Five bells. Completed in 1973, the mural was inspired by the poem Five bells by Kenneth Slessor. Olsen's works are held widely in private and public collections, and have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions both in Australia and abroad. His influence on the development of art in Australia has been enhanced by his numerous art awards, including the Archibald Prize in 2005 for his Self portrait Janus faced. He was awarded an OBE and created an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2001 for service to the visual arts. Olsen's autobiography, Drawn from life, was published in 1997.


Manuscript reference no.: MS 8015/2.

Also available online

Subjects Olsen, John, 1928- -- Archives.  |  Sydney Opera House.  |  Artists -- Australia -- Archives.  |  Australian poetry -- Illustrations.  |  Literature in art.  |  Mural painting and decoration -- New South Wales -- Sydney.
Time Coverage 1971-1973 
Occupation Artists.
Other authors/contributors Slessor, Kenneth, 1901-1971. Five bells  |  Olsen, John, 1928-
Exhibited Selected items exhibited: "Treasures Gallery", National Library of Australia, 16 September 2013 - 2 February 2014.  Exhibited: "Treasures Gallery", National Library of Australia, 3 December 2012 - 3 May 2013.  Exhibited: "Treasures Gallery", National Library of Australia, 7 October 2011 - 15 December 2012.  Selected items exhibited in: "Treasures Gallery", National Library of Australia, 12 June 2012 - 23 September 2012. 

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