"Calm Interior Room"
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Margaret Olley is known as one of Australia's most prized interior and still life painters. She first came to public attention as the subject of Sir William Dobell's winning Archibald portrait in 1948. These days she is regarded as an Australian national treasure. In 1997 her work was the subject of a major retrospective organized by the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Margaret Olley began her career painting sets for various theater groups, before displaying her painting in exhibitions at Royal Queensland Art Society and the Under Thirties Group in Sydney. Her painting won the inaugural Mosman Prize in 1947. Margaret later traveled to Europe where she studied art at La Grande Chaumiere in Paris and, in 1952, she exhibited a collection of favourably-reviewed paintings. She returned to Brisbane in 1953 and was commissioned by the Queensland Art Gallery to paint a mural of Paris' Place de la Concorde for an upcoming French art exhibition. She soon received commissions to paint murals in other Brisbane landmarks such as the Grosvenor and Lennon's hotels. Since then, Margaret has traveled the globe gaining inspiration for her bold still-life paintings and viewing exhibitions of classic artists such as Van Gogh, Matisse, Miro and Manet. Margaret is regarded as a generous benefactor, having donated many of her works to the Art Gallery of New South Wales. In 1990, she established the Margaret Hannah Olley Trust to produce other artists' works for public donation. In 1994, Olley's generosity to the gallery was celebrated in the exhibition to which she donated works of Donald Friend, Arthur Boyd, Walter Sickert, Edgar, Duncan Grant and Mathew Smith.