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John Olsen 'Opera House'
John Olsen 'Opera House'
John Olsen 'Opera House'
John Olsen 'Opera House'
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, John Olsen 'Opera House'
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, John Olsen 'Opera House'
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, John Olsen 'Opera House'
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, John Olsen 'Opera House'

John Olsen 'Opera House'

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Sydney’s Opera House is a beating heart in John Olsen’s practice. In 1973, he completed a now iconic commission for the building - a sprawling mural of Sydney Harbour. The work was inspired by Kenneth Slessor’s poem ‘Five Bells’, which pays tribute to a victim of harbour's waters. While one might find this macabre subject matter for a public mural, Olsen perceives the harbour and its surroundings as neither good nor bad; but rather as a force vital enough to give and take life.

In this original etching, Olsen again unites the Opera House with poetry. In it, sun, sky and city collide; a dance of shape, line and life. Beside this, sits a poem entitled ‘Watson’s Bay’. As much about Sydney and its landmarks as Olsen himself, the poem echoes his belief that “I am in the sea-harbour and the sea-harbour is in me”. This is an artist with salt water running through his veins.

Anyone who feels connected to the place in which they live recognises that cities are organisms. Tied to the Opera House, harbour and Watsons Bay by a psychic umbilical cord, Olsen’s vision is for the locals. It perceives Sydney as poetry and the sea as an epic, opening a dialogue between self and place. This work is not only collectible; its heartfelt. For admirers of the artist, Sydney-siders and collectors of important Australian art, come home to ‘Opera House’.


John OLSEN (1928 - )
'Opera House' 2003
etching on paper
Edition of 90
Image Size: 24 x 19 cm
Dimensions: 57 x 75 cm
Signed: Signed, dated and titled bottom margin of the first panel.
Comes with Letter of Provenance
Availability: in stock
Condition: As New: The work of art is in the same immaculate condition as when it was created. This could be the description for a work of art that may have been in storage for years, never sold on the market but may still be some years old.
© John Olsen / Copyright Agency 2021

Literature: Ken McGregor, Teeming with Life John Olsen: His Complete Graphics 1957 - 2005, Macmillan Publishers Australia 2005, illustrated page 222 - 223 (another impression from the edition).

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About You

At Angela Tandori Fine Art, we want to empower Confident Collectors. We know that starting an art collection can be daunting - markets fluctuate, trends waver and theories permeate. Our best advice? Start with art that speaks to you. Whether you're drawn to art for its audacity, power or narrative, discovering what you love is exciting. And to ease the process, we're here to help with advice, services and consultation. Start your own art collection today and tell your story.

About Us

Since 2001, Angela Tandori Fine Art has been connecting people across the world with art they love. With a focus on Modern and Contemporary collectable Australian art, we offer a platform where first-time, as well as established collectors can discover art with confidence. Always available online - we are professional so you can be passionate.

About Angela Tandori

Our director, Angela Tandori is a second generation art dealer who begun working in the industry in 1998. Armed with vast experience in auctioning, valuing, exhibiting and consulting in Australian art, Angela has honed her vision for the modern collector. She holds a certificate in Auction & Valuation practice and is a member of the Art Consulting Association of Australia and an associate member of the Auctioneers and Valuers Association of Australia. Plus, she’s an avid art collector herself!