SMH: ‘At last she is being heard’: Valerie Strong, matriarch of the Olsen family, has first solo exhibition
Article by Linda Morris
Valerie Strong was a student at East Sydney Technical College when John Olsen was briefly a teacher. The man who is now one of Australia’s most famous living artists praised Strong’s marks on paper: “I should have done that. I wish I’d done that line.”
That first interaction led to a passionate marriage, two children, divorce and the beginnings of a living artistic dynasty that has, for the most part, revolved around the glittering orb that is the career of Olsen, the Archibald Prize-winning painter.
A new exhibition, however, finally puts the focus on the unsung work of Strong, who died in 2011. It will be held at the National Art School, her alma mater, and is curated by her children, Tim and Louise, who knew her best.
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Image: Louise, Valerie and Tim, 1983. Photo: John Lewis