An exhibition by renowned Australian artists Margaret Olley and Donald Friend will be on show at the DELL Gallery @ QCA (Queensland College of Art) from April 22-May 28.

The celebrated artists, who were great friends and studied and painted together at the National Art School in the 1940s, epitomised the state of art in pre-World War 2 Sydney.

Born in Lismore in 1923, Margaret Olley is regarded as one of Australia’s best prized interior and still life painters. She attended Brisbane’s Central Technical College (now known as the Queensland College of Art) before moving to New South Wales where she met Friend.

A draughtsman, diarist, printmaker and painter, Donald Friend (1915-1989) trained in Sydney and London and also lived and painted in South Africa, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. He was known for his skilful observation of the human form, particularly the male figure.

Griffith Artworks director Simon Wright said the exhibition featured 50 works and included some of their most popular paintings, such as Olley’s Portrait in the Mirror (1948, oil on cardboard) and Friend’s Sofala (1947), both gifted by Olley to The Art Gallery of New South Wales.

“The show reveals their lasting friendship and confirms our view of them as two seriously important Australian artists, and genuine characters, both of whom have contributed immensely to the fabric of Australian culture – as gifted practitioners, and in the fields of writing and philanthropy. Margaret is a bit coy about it, but is one of Australia’s great benefactors to public collections,’’ he said.

“It is wonderful to have Olley and Friend in Brisbane, at the same time as other goliaths of Australian modernism, Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington-Smith, nearby at Queensland Art Gallery.

“We hope that the public will visit and pay homage to the skills and talents of these great artists.”