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Ronald Olley (b.1923) - c. 2000 Oil, Portrait of a Veteran on a Battlefield



An arresting and dramatic oil on canvas by the British listed artist Ronald Olley (b.1923), depicting a portrait of an older gentleman, who is most likely a war veteran, wearing a red poppy. The scene behind the subject is suggestive of a Second World War battlefield, and the artist's research and personal experience of war is evident. Flames lick the ground in the distance, and the use of a layered palette adds texture and drama.

Olley has a particular skill in depicting characterful portraits, with a masterly grasp on both form and shadow. The overall work conveys both the physical and emotional impact of the war years, and provides a commentary on both the passage of time, and the need for reflection.

Unsigned. On canvas on stretchers.


In very good condition overall. There is one small spot of paint loss, to the left of the subjects ear. Minor scuffing to the corners of the canvas.


57.4 x 47.8cm (22.6" x 18.8")
Sheet: 59 x 50cm (23.2" x 19.7")

Collection Information

Sulis Fine Art is proud to present this fine collection of works from the studio of the British artist Ronald Olley. Some of the works bear the stamp 'ORO', which stands for Owen Ronald Olley, the artist's birthname.

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Artist Biography

Ronald Olley was born in 1923, and studied at both the Harrow Art School and the Central School, London. His father served as a soldier throughout the First World War, and Olley joined the army in 1942. He witnessed the bombing of Bath, England, before being stationed at El Alamein in Egypt, and Italy.

As well as landscape and figure painting, Olley has had numerous commissions for portraits, mainly of women and children. 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. These have been painted using significant research and photographs, alongside Olley's own knowledge of the front line.

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. His pictures have been bought by collectors in Europe, the USA, Australia, Africa and Japan.

This item is in the 3 for 2 sale.
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More Information
Code kk928
Artist Ronald Olley (b.1923)
Date c. 2000
Dimensions 57.4 x 47.8cm
Medium Oil
Style Impressionism
Subject Portrait
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