Mail from Bendigo: Ola Cohn

I love portraits of artists at work. Australian painter Roy Opie (1909-1968) has captured Ola Cohn so well with tools in hands, concentrating on a work of art.
(Credit: Mutual Art)

I have some interesting mail to share with you regarding Ola Cohn featured recently in the blog. Thanks to subscriber D of Bendigo I have been put in contact with the great nephew of Ola Cohn, a gentleman by the name of Leo Bruinier who just happens to be a friend of D's. I have received a delightful email from Leo inviting me to meet up and view his extensive collection of Ola’s work and the books that he has reproduced that accompany the Fairy Tree.

On 1 January 1965, shortly after her death, Cohn was appointed a Member of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for her work in the service of art, especially sculpture. Her studio home in Gipps St, East Melbourne was bequeathed to the Council of Adult Education (since renamed the Centre for Adult Education), and is now known as the Ola Cohn Memorial Centre.

Leo Bruinier is on the committee that looks after Ola’s home in East Melbourne not far from the Fairy Tree. In his email is explains that: Recently I have been requesting the managers of The Tree to put in a Fairies’ letterbox at the Tree so that children of Melbourne can post letters to the Fairies. They just want to know who reads the letters, when I said ‘the Fairies’ all went quiet. They are worried about adverse publicity. I still think it is a great idea and it would bring people from all over to visit the Tree. Lots of the carvings along the bottom of the Tree, in the stumps base have been covered over with plaster so people cannot slip notes to the Fairies (damp and fire hazard!) ...I have recently had her OBE and letter from Queen framed.

As we are studying hands at the moment and Ola was predominantly a sculptor I have tried to show you a close up of her hands at work. However, it's Ola's profile of concentration rather than her hands that dominate the image.
(Credit: East Melbourne Historical Society)

Thank you D of Bendigo and Leon Bruinier for sharing with us your personal contact of Ola Cohn, a great artist.

Anne Newman

Oil Painter in realistic genre style, predominantly buildings and people. To continue the discussion contact Anne on or phone +61 407 516 522

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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