Sidney
Nolan

Sidney Nolan, an Australian modernist, is celebrated for his vivid depictions of the outback, Ned Kelly, and Australian folklore. If you’re looking for original Sidney Nolan prints and editions for sale or would like to sell, request a complimentary valuation and browse our network’s most in-demand works.

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Biography

Born on 22 April 1917 in Carlton, Victoria, Sidney Nolan grew up in a working-class suburb of Melbourne, showing an early propensity for drawing. His formal education was brief and interrupted; he attended the esteemed National Gallery of Victoria Art School only sporadically due to the economic pressures of the Great Depression, which forced him to enter the workforce at a young age.

Despite his limited formal training, Nolan's artistic development was rich and varied. In his early career, he was influenced by the European modernist movements, and his work from this period exhibits a dynamic interplay between abstraction and figuration. Nolan's participation in the Angry Penguins—an avant-garde art and literary group—catalysed his break from traditional representation, leading to a period of intense experimentation.

Nolan's work is often segmented into thematic series, each exploring different narratives and landscapes. The most renowned of these is his Ned Kelly series where he used the Australian bushranger as a motif to explore themes of identity, conformity, and rebellion. Nolan's depiction of Kelly, a helmeted figure silhouetted against the vast Australian outback, is now deeply ingrained in the nation's cultural consciousness.

Throughout his career, Nolan's style remained fluid, with a propensity for employing unconventional materials; from house paint to enamel, he utilised whatever was at hand to convey his vision. This ingenuity extended to his process, often painting on glass to achieve unique textures and effects.

Nolan's work has been showcased in major exhibitions across the globe, affirming his international stature. He represented Australia at the Venice Biennale in 1954 and has earned accolades including knighthood in 1981, recognition of his significant contribution to the arts.

Sidney Nolan's legacy is characterised by his relentless innovation and his enduring fascination with the mythos of Australia. His works are held in high esteem, not only within the nation but internationally, as they continue to influence artists and captivate audiences with their distinctive blend of narrative depth and visual ingenuity.


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