Sidney Nolan 'Woman on Beach, St Kilda'

$22,000.00 Regular price
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Sidney Nolan’s 'Woman on Beach, St Kilda' is an object of fascination. It was painted in 1940 when Nolan was part of the Heide Circle, poised for his first solo exhibition. Yet to leave Australia but nevertheless inspired by European modernism, he set about reimagining his childhood suburb of St Kilda through the eyes of the avant-garde.

For Nolan, St Kilda was his “kitsch heaven” – a realm of garish beauty and abandon, tinged by memories of his misspent youth. In this work, he pictures a woman emerging from a moonlit tent beneath the Big Dipper. Nolan was fascinated with tents – what lies behind the canvas? In this case, something does. On the verso of 'Woman on Beach, St Kilda' is another work, an abstracted landscape titled 'Newcastle' circa 1938.

'Woman on Beach, St Kilda' has been widely exhibited, including at the Scottish Royal Academy and the University of Durham. It speaks to Nolan’s fascination with St Kilda, his interest in abstraction and coming of age. The year after this work was painted, Nolan would leave his first wife and child to take up residence with John and Sunday Reed, with whom he was romantically entangled. Into their tent he went.

From a hugely significant period of Nolan’s career, 'Woman on Beach, St Kilda' is a striking find for collectors of Nolan and Australian modernism. It is a strangely beguiling image. As writer Max Harris recalls, St Kilda “was peculiarly and secretly Nolan’s very own world… It was not difficult to discover what Nolan found down at St Kilda. It was of course himself”.

Sidney NOLAN (1938 - 1992)
'Woman on Beach, St Kilda' 1940
oil on canvas on board
Image Size: 30 x 38 cm
Dimensions: 39 x 48 x 4 cm
Signed: Dated lower right
Comes with Letter of Provenance

Nolan, Hatton Gallery, University of Durham, Newcastle upon Tyne; Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield; Temple Newsam House, Leeds; Ferens Art Gallery, Hull; City Art Gallery, Bristol; Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; Scottish Royal Academy, Edinburgh; City Art Gallery, Wakefield, March - November 1961, cat. 8, as Woman on beach. Verso: Abstract, c.1938, oil and mixed media on board. inscribed: Newcastle, 30 x 38.5 cm

Condition: Very Good.

(c) Sidney Nolan / Copyright Agency 2024