Sidney Nolan is considered among Australia’s greatest artists. His legacy is entwined with myth - Ned Kelly haunting the Australian outback, Gallipoli, Burke and Wills - all told as epics. These epics however, are always grounded in a deep understanding of the human condition.
In 1962, he and his second wife Cynthia Reed spent ten days in Serengeti, Africa. Nolan was there to complete a commission with a Kenyan businessman. As their relationship soured, however, Nolan found himself infatuated with Africa’s fauna. He came back to London and painted a series of African animals. The Queen bought two. In the animals’ unusual form - and ability to camouflage - Nolan found a painting paradox; he was trying to represent something that does not want to be seen. In this spectre, lies the implicit understanding these animals are in danger of total invisibility, of extinction. As Nolan states:
“The message will become fossilised as the species die out. One comes to view them as works which will not be repeated again”
Nolan is represented in every state gallery and internationally at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and London’s Tate. Art historians understand Nolan’s landscapes as theatres for the human condition.
Not merely a pretty view, Nolan’s odes to African animals cement him as a visual poet.
Sidney NOLAN (1917 - 1992)
'Kelly Gang, Rams and Elephant' c. 1963
Mixed media on paper
Image Size: 52 x 63 cm
Dimensions: 52 x 63 cm
Signed: Signed lower right: Nolan
Comes with Letter of Provenance
Related Works: Elephants, 1963, oil on paper, illustrated in Elwyn Lynn, Sidney Nolan: Myth and Imagery, London, 1967, p. 75.
Condition: Very Good: Describes a work of art’s image As New, but may show some small signs of surrounding wear. There are no tears to paper margin or disruption to paint surface. Image is in Fine condition.
© Sidney Nolan / Copyright Agency 2022