A significant donation from one of Australia’s most acclaimed artists will be the centrepiece of the opening of the Orange Regional Gallery extension when it is completed later this year.
John Olsen AO offered a major work to the gallery to mark the expansion, after visiting the construction site in late-2020 and hearing about the $5 million project.
The donated painting Flight to Merinderoo (Minderoo), Pilbara, (2019), was inspired by a visit he made to the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia as a guest of Andrew Forrest. He also donated a bronze sculpture Basho’s Frog Dancing (2018) and four exceptional works on paper.
Orange Mayor Reg Kidd thanked Mr Olsen for his generous gift, and welcomed such a valuable addition to the gallery’s permanent art collection.
“I’m pleased the expansion has the support of such a prominent Australian artist who recognises the significance of the project for the gallery and the city of Orange,” Cr Kidd said.
“The expansion will deliver a state-of-the-art resource for the cultural precinct and a much-improved facility to house the gallery’s significant collection of local, national and international artworks, collected over many years.”
During his visit to the gallery, Mr Olsen said he was impressed by the developments and took particular interest in the extension’s natural lighting design, storage facility and lecture theatre.
“I think Orange is a wonderful town with beautiful parks and a very urbane culture,” Mr Olsen said.
“I was moved by what is about to happen, with a wonderful extension of the gallery. I just thought I could play a small part in making the pudding plumper.”
The artist was also impressed by plans to relocate Orange Regional Conservatorium to the cultural precinct in future.
“When I saw the highly sophisticated extension I thought, how exciting that the gallery will now play more of a prominent part in the community. When I heard about the conservatorium of music [relocating] as well, I thought, wow, this is going to be such a wonderful thing for the people of the town,” Mr Olsen said.
Orange Regional Gallery director Brad Hammond said the new additions had significantly enhanced Orange Regional Gallery’s permanent collection.
“While the collection already features paintings by many notable artists, it has lacked a major work by John Olsen, one of Australia’s most iconic painters,” he said.
“We are looking forward to exhibiting these recent acquisitions in our newly extended and refurbished Gallery in Spring 2021.”
For more information about the extension project and the gallery’s fundraising campaign, visit the gallery website.