Exhibited Rudy Komon, April 1969 cat 4; Private collection, Sydney
Birds by the River was featured in Olsen’s 1969 solo exhibition, The Donemoochin Summer at the Rudy Komon Gallery. Komon was one of the early Woollahra gallerists and supported a great many of the mid-20th century’s finest Australian artists. The work is in fine original condition and has not been seen publicly since it was purchased in 1969.
Allen D. Christensen Collection, California (label attached verso); On loan to the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth (label attached verso); Deutscher Fine Art, Melbourne; Company collection, Adelaide; Deutscher-Menzies, Australian and International Paintings, Sydney, 5 March 2002, Lot 50; Private collection, Sydney
The Land Beyond Time; paintings and drawings by John Olsen, Art Gallery of Western Australia, May 1984, cat. 97/98; touring exhibition to Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 21 November 1984-6 January 1985; Newcastle Region Art Gallery, 8-29 September 1985; Wollongong City Gallery, 1 November-8 December 1985; Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville, 3 January-9 March 1986; Tamworth City Gallery, April-May 1986; Orange Regional Gallery, 1 June-7 July 1986; Lewers Bequest and Penrith Regional Art Gallery, July-September 1986; Wagga Wagga City Art Gallery, October 1986; Westpac Gallery, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne, November 1986; Araluen Art Centre, Alice Springs, December, 1986; Shepparton Art Gallery, December-January 1987; Nolan Gallery, Lanyon, February -31 March 1989; Centre Gallery, Gold Coast, 17 June-13 August 1989; Manly Art Gallery, 7 September-15 October 1989; North Adelaide School of Arts, March 1990..
The beauty of the Kimberley landscape has had an enduring influence on John Olsen’s work since his first visit to the region in 1982.
Olsen described his engagement with the Kimberley as having ‘an impact which makes one strive for familiar points of reference: to compare the complex of channels through the Wyndham salt flats to the gigantic nervous system, or the strange rock formations of the Bungle Bungle to abandoned Buddhist temples. It is as though the observer is forced to seek a key to their messages, but there really is no point in making such comparisons because the North-West remains unique: a territory with a fearful fascination and an unforgettable charisma which have no relationship to any other human experience.’1
1. Preface in Olsen, J., The Land Beyond Time, The Macmillan Company of Australia, Melbourne, 1984