ODETTA MEDICH has long been prominent in Sydney's contemporary art circles as a collector and benefactor.
But she is losing friends fast in the art world as more details emerge about the murder of Michael McGurk allegedly masterminded by her property developer husband Ron.
A spokeswoman for the homicide squad refused to say whether Odetta Medich, 43, was also being investigated over the murder of McGurk in front of his 10-year-old son Luc last year.
Medich's millions have bought influence in the city's public art institutions, including the Art Gallery of NSW's Contemporary Collections Benefactors Group. Her name appears on the patrons board in the foyer at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
But prominent art figures contacted last week were highly reluctant to speak about her or even acknowledge the scale of her philanthropy.
The full extent of Medich's influence is illustrated by her appointment to the Australia Council's Commissioner's Council for the 2009 Venice Biennale alongside such heavy-hitters as millionaire philanthropists Simon and Catriona Mordant, Morry and Anna Schwarz and Gene and Brian Sherman.
She is listed as a benefactor on the website of this year's Sydney Biennale. ''She has been generous and cordial in all my interactions with her,'' said Luca Belgiorno-Nettis, chairman of the Biennale's board of directors. He added: ''I wasn't that close to her.''
Medich is reputed to have a museum-quality collection of photography in her Wolseley Road, Point Piper mansion, with a focus on German photographers including Thomas Ruff and Andreas Gursky.
She is believed to be a big client of Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery and Dominik Mersch Gallery, and spends a great deal of time travelling to overseas art fairs, sources said. ''She is a regular in the gallery and someone who is totally educated about the arts,'' Mersch said.
Her 62-year-old husband does not share her passion for art and rarely accompanied her to A-list events.