John Olsen AO. Photographer: Ken Redpath ©

As Orange Regional Gallery’s Extension Project moves into full gear, one of Australia’s most acclaimed artists, John Olsen AO has made a remarkable gesture to mark the occasion.

Mr Olsen visited Orange Regional Gallery in late 2020 to visit the construction site and hear about plans for the extension. He also had an opportunity to view our permanent collection and discuss future developments.

The artist took particular interest in the extension’s natural lighting design, storage facility and lecture theatre and was delighted to hear about plans for the future relocation of Orange Regional Conservatorium to the Cultural Precinct.

‘I think Orange is a wonderful town with beautiful parks and a very urbane culture’ Mr Olsen stated. ‘I was moved by what is about to happen, with a wonderful extension of the Gallery.’

‘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”’.

During the visit, Mr Olsen said he was impressed by the developments and spontaneously offered a major painting to the Gallery. ‘I just thought I could play a small part in making the pudding plumper’ he said.

Additional conversations and a visit to his studio in early January 2021 have culminated in the acquisition of a painting Flight to Merinderoo (Minderoo), Pilbara, (2019), along with a bronze sculpture, Basho’s Frog Dancing (2018) and four exceptional works on paper.

These new additions have 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. We are looking forward to exhibiting these recent acquisitions in our newly extended and refurbished Gallery in Spring 2021.
I’d like to acknowledge the support of Ros Auld and Fem Hawke from our community who facilitated Mr Olsen’s visit to Orange.

Please visit the Gallery’s website to learn more about the Extension Project and our Fundraising Campaign


Would you like to learn more about the Orange Regional Gallery Collection?

Join Gallery Director Bradley Hammond for a presentation hosted by ADFAS (Australian Decorative and Fine Art Society).

6pm Tuesday, 16 March, 2021
Orange Regional Conservatorium
73A Hill St, Orange NSW 2800

Using highlights from the Gallery’s permanent collection Brad will explore ways of looking, and thinking about art. The presentation will include an overview of the history of the collection as well as some recent acquisitions and an update on the Gallery’s Extension Project.


IMAGE: John Olsen AO. Photographer: Ken Redpath ©