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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Margaret Olley

1991
Greg Weight

gelatin silver photograph on paper, edition P/P 2 (sheet: 40.4 cm x 50.4 cm, image: 36.2 cm x 45.3 cm)

Margaret Olley AC (1923–2011), painter, was well known in the Sydney postwar art scene and her portrait was painted by Drysdale and Dobell – Dobell's painting won the 1948 Archibald Prize. Olley held her first one-person show that year. It was a sellout, and she held at least one solo exhibition annually from then on. In 1991 she reprised her success of 43 years before, when a show of 35 of her intimate, brilliantly coloured interiors and still lifes sold out again. In the 1980s she endowed the Margaret Hannah Olley Art Trust, of which several Australian galleries, including the National Portrait Gallery, have been beneficiaries. Olley remained a prominent arts identity to her death, continuing to paint, and posing for numerous portraits by younger artists she encouraged. Tweed River Art Gallery is home to the Margaret Olley Art Centre which includes a reproduction of Olley's studio and living space.

Photographer Greg Weight waited six months for this sitting with Olley. As he recalled in Australian Artists: Portraits by Greg Weight, when he a requested to photograph Olley at work in her studio she said, 'Absolutely not, nobody watches me painting, that is a very private affair'. Instead, she sat in a corner of the loungeroom where she had painted many works, the large window bringing southern light into the room.


Gift of Patrick Corrigan AM 2004. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
© Gregory Weight/Copyright Agency, 2021

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Greg Weight (age 45 in 1991)

Margaret Olley AC (age 68 in 1991)

Donated by

Patrick Corrigan AM (123 portraits)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Greg Weight
Greg Weight
Greg Weight
Greg Weight

Greg Weight

'If you've ever been in love, you will know how to be a photographer'

Portrait story

Greg Weight on working with Jiawei Shen, and starting out as a photographer.

Marilyn Darling AC
Marilyn Darling AC
Marilyn Darling AC
Marilyn Darling AC

Support Crew

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2011

Portraits of philanthropists in the collection honour their contributions to Australia and acknowledge their support of the National Portrait Gallery.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency