Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Faculty of Creative Arts


The principal aim of this thesis is to provide a major reference document on John Olsen's artistic development from the late 1940s through to 1990. John Olsen is widely considered to be one of Australia's most significant artists, yet for many years his reputation remained based primarily on the work of the early 1960s. The aim has been, therefore, to convey a fuller picture of the scope of Olsen's oeuvre, through an examination of the gradual evolution of the work from one stage to the next over more than forty years. In addition to an analysis of the works themselves, this development is situated in the context of the time-frames and environments in which the artist was working.