State Memorial Service for Dr John Olsen AO OBE

A State Memorial Service for Dr John Olsen AO OBE will take place on Monday, 29 May 2023 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.

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The State Memorial service will provide an opportunity for John Olsen’s family, friends, dignitaries, and members of the public to celebrate the life of the acclaimed artist following his death on April 11, aged 95.

The Australian and NSW governments will jointly deliver the service in honour of the late legendary landscape painter, following the Olsen family's acceptance of state memorial offers from both governments.

The service will be live streamed.

About Dr John Olsen AO OBE


Portrait of Dr John Olsen AO OBE

With a career spanning nearly seven decades, John Olsen had long been considered one of Australia’s most eminent and celebrated living artists.

In 1977, Olsen was appointed an OBE for his services to the arts and in 2001 was appointed an AO and awarded the Centenary Medal. He was awarded the Wynne Prize in 1969 and 1985, the Sir John Sulman Prize in 1989 and the Archibald Prize in 2005, amongst many other significant awards throughout his distinguished career. 

Olsen’s work is represented in all Australian state gallery collections, the National Gallery of Australia and regional galleries nationwide, as well as institutional, corporate and private collections internationally. 

He has also received an honorary doctorate of letters from both the University of NSW (in 2003) and the University of Newcastle (in 2011).

To find out more about John Olsen and his work, visit the Olsen Gallery website.

Attend the Memorial

The Memorial will be held in the Meers Hall, located at the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ new North Building.

Doors will open at 9:30am and guests must be seated by 10:15am sharp.

Members of the general public are welcome to attend and will be accommodated inside the Gallery where possible. Please note that due to capacity constraints, there may be a limited number of seats available.

Public transport is the best way to get to the Gallery. You can find all the information on the Art Gallery of NSW website.

If you require wheelchair access or assistance, please contact the Department of Premier and Cabinet Access and Inclusion Officer via email or 0407 237 864. For information on accessibility, visit the Art Gallery of NSW website

Further enquiries can be emailed to the NSW Protocol team.

Watch the Memorial

Those unable to attend will be able to watch a live stream of the service online from 10:30am on Monday, 29 May 2023 via this webpage.

In lieu of flowers

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the National Art School.

Australian Government and NSW Government Coat of Arms (left aligned)

Sign the condolence book 

People are invited to pay tribute to Dr John Olsen AO OBE by writing a message of condolence.

The online condolence book will be printed and presented to his family following the Memorial service.

Submit your message of condolence below by Friday, 9 June 2023. 

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