An image of Spanish encounter

John Olsen

(Australia, England, Spain, Portugal 21 Jan 1928 – )

Spanish encounter

Not on display
Further information

Shortly after his work was shown in 1956 in 'Direction I', an exhibition of abstract works, with Robert Klippel, John Passmore, William Rose and Eric Smith, John Olsen travelled to Europe. He went initially to London, then Paris and onto Spain, where he lived mostly on the island of Majorca. During this period he was influenced by the Tachist artists Antoni Tàpies and Jean Dubuffet, as well as Surrealism and Expressionism.

'Spanish encounter' was painted soon after Olsen’s return to Australia in 1960. It encapsulates a vitality stemming from Olsen’s experience of Spain combined with the pulsating activity of Sydney's inner-city life, which struck the artist upon his return. Surging across three panels, gestural black lines are punctuated by bursts of brown, yellow and burnt ochre. These elements exemplify Olsen's commitment to the act of painting as a total experience, fusing process with subject matter.

Place of origin
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
triptych: oil on hardboard
triptych: 183.0 x 366.0 cm board overall; 185.0 x 367.4 x 5.0 cm frame overall :
a - left panel; 183 x 122 cm; board
b - centre panel; 183 x 122 cm; board
c - right panel; 183 x 122 cm; board
Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r. corner right panel [part c], black oil "J.O/ '60".

Purchased 1960
Accession number