Drawn from Life

by John Olsen

ISBN 1 875989 17 X

$60.00 HB Published July 1997
$32.85 Paperback Published June 2000




In 1957 a Sydney businessman who recognised the immense talent of the young John Olsen paid him to go to Majorca and paint. The businessman sold most of the paintings for a profit and Olsen was transformed by the influences of European art and the Mediterranean. In Majorca Olsen began a journal, which he has continued ever since, a fluid combination of words and drawings recording the events of an extraordinarily rich life.

This book is based on these journals, and reproduces many of the drawings from them. Olsen's life has been marked by a generosity of spirit, by the vitality of his friendships with men, including many of Australia's leading painters, and with women, and by his personal struggles which have led to some of the greatest works of Australian landscape painting.

These include his Lake Eyre paintings and more recent works such as Golden Summer, Clarendon. His mural, Salute to Five Bells, inspired by Kenneth Slessor's poem, is in the Sydney Opera House.

'John Olsen is Australia's greatest living painter. He is also a great raconteur. I loved this book.' Alistair McAlpine

  • Stories about Sidney Nolan, Fred Williams, William Dobell, Albert Tucker, Judy Cassab, Paul Keating, Rudy Komon . . . Olsen has known them all.
  • The struggle to blend the influences of European art, abstract expressionism, and the Australian landscape.
  • His crowded personal life.
  • The book is printed in two colours and contains sixty of the drawings from the journals interspersed with the text.
  • Sixteen pages of full colour reproductions.




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