One of the National Art Schools most celebrated Alumni; Valerie Marshall Strong will be honoured this November in Valerie Marshall Strong – A rare sensibility, exhibiting 67 of the artists’ works, most of them never seen before in public.

The works are chiefly from the collections of her children Tim and Louise Olsen. Dating from the late 1950s to the late 1990s, the works cross many mediums such as oil and acrylic on board and canvas, drawings, prints, watercolours, and several life drawings from the NAS collection.

Steven Alderton, NAS Director and CEO says: “Valerie was an outstanding student at the National Art School, who became an accomplished and inspired artist and teacher in her own right. It’s wonderful to bring her work into the public eye and pay tribute to her as an important part of one of Australia’s most renowned creative families.”

Valerie Strong met her husband John Olsen at the National Art School, where he worked briefly as a teacher. After graduating in 1961, Valerie and John married in 1962. Their children Tim and Louise were born soon after.

Her children remember her as being equally as committed to her practice as her husband John was to his. After their marriage ended, she continued to create for many decades but rarely exhibited her works commercially.

Louise Olsen says: “Mum felt that each work led to the next. That is why I would like to keep the collection together because all the pictures speak to one another – she needed to keep those threads going in her body of work.”

“Mum also did a lot of teaching which supported her financially because she was not interested or ambitious about selling her work. Painting pictures was not about financial remuneration, it was pure love.”

Valerie Strong passed away in 2011. In an interview in 1965 with oral historian Hazel de Berg, Strong describes herself as an artist saying: “I feel that the external figurative world has been taken as far as it can be taken. I feel that the subconscious world has not been plundered as it will be from now on. This has been a marvellous creative development in painting, one that I don’t see an end to… a terrific richness of experience has unfolded for the painter.”

Valeris Marshall Strong Olsen – A rare sensibility will be held at the National Art School in the Rayner Hoff Project Space from November 6-27 2021. Find out more here.