The iconic Australian painter and arts philanthropist has died.

With the death of Australia’s most beloved painter of still lifes, the art world has lost a national treasure.

The 88-year-old Margaret Olley AC was found dead in her Paddington home on Tuesday morning.

She had been preparing for a solo exhibition – one of more than 90 throughout her illustrious career. She continued her work until the last, joking in a recent interview, “I think now as the mon dieu comes I’ll say ‘just one minute, I’m not ready yet. I’ve still got to do that painting.’”

Born in Lismore on June 24, 1923, Olley discovered her passion for painting at a Brisbane boarding school, going on to study her craft at the East Sydney Technical College. Success came early with her first one-person show at the age of 25. Bohemian years in France followed, including a stint living on a vineyard in Cassis that informed her vibrant use of colour and love of humble, everyday objects, particularly flowers.

She was a great patron of the arts and a champion of the younger generation of Australian painters. She was often spotted in attendance at the opera and habitually listened to ABC Classic...