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Ronald Olley [born 1923]


OLLEY, Owen Ronald [born 1923]

[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]

“War Sketch”


acrylic on paper / 7.0 inches by 10.3 inches

“Sunrise Horse Ride”


oil on panel / 11.3 inches by 11.1 inches

“Blitz, London”


oil on panel / 7.5 inches by 9.9 inches

On the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, today, it is especially appropriate for the Community Collection to feature these three works by British nonagenarian artist Owen Ronald Olley.

Olley was born in 1923, and studied at both the Harrow Art School and the Central School, London. His father had served as a soldier throughout the First World War, and Olley joined the army in 1942, witnessing the bombing of Bath, England, before being stationed at El Alamein in Egypt, and then in Italy. As one of the last artists to paint World War II from personal experience, a significant part of his portfolio depicts battlegrounds and war-torn landscapes. While they may not have been created on the actual battlefield, they were painted using significant research and photographs, augmenting Olley’s own knowledge of the front line.¹

His work has been shown at the Royal Academy and the Royal Society of British Artists, as well as in exhibitions at the Medici Gallery and at Duncan Campbell.

¹ Rachel Campbell-Johnston wrote about precisely this quality of Olley’s work inThe Times for 11 January 2014: “Ron Olley ‘paints what battle is like'”.

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