you, Lady, are the Tree: Nolan’s annunciation

Posted by on Apr 19, 2016 in Nolan | 0 comments

This evocative little image in gentle blues, whites and pinks set against the bold black outlining, is the first painting by Nolan reproduced in print. Inscribed Garden of Eden, it appeared as Woman and Tree in the 2nd edition of Angry Penguins which went to print in August 1941 when still produced in Adelaide with Max Harris the sole editor. A few weeks later, again titled Woman and Tree, it was included in the 3rd annual exhibition of the Contemporary Art...

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Nolan Centenary – “Imagining in Excited Reverie”

Posted by on Dec 20, 2015 in Nolan | 5 comments

  Born on 22 April 1917, Sidney Nolan’s centenary is less than two years away.  So far I’ve heard of no plans to mark the occasion with an exhibition or otherwise. [NOTE that this article was written in December 2015. Thirteen months later in January 2017, plans in the UK are well afoot and being publicised. Details may be seen on the Centenary page on the Sidney Nolan Trust website. I remain unaware of anything announced regarding Australia.] If this...

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aCOMMENT on “Modern Love: The Lives of John and Sunday Reed”

Posted by on Oct 7, 2015 in Heide, Nolan | 1 comment

I’m writing this fresh from the book launch at Heide of Modern Love: The Lives of John and Sunday Reed, and yet another familiar roam through the old Heide farmhouse where much of these lives played out and where is now hosted an accompanying exhibition of the same name. This first biography of the Reeds, by Heide curators Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan, is the second in a 2015 biographical trilogy that covers four central weavers in the fabric of Australian Modernism: John and...

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aCOMMENT: on Nancy Underhill’s “Sidney Nolan: a life” – a terrible beauty is born

Posted by on Jun 19, 2015 in Heide, Nolan | 1 comment

Dr Nancy Underhill’s new Nolan biography Sidney Nolan: a life is very good.   The first biography to really look at his life as a whole1 rather than in segments bearing on a particular theme or exhibition, it will become a classic standard text. And deservedly so.     Having regard to Sidney Nolan’s much avowed Irishness, I once worked out that he was just two days old on the first anniversary of Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising. This new...

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“Sidney Nolan’s Odyssey”: his life revisited

Posted by on Mar 19, 2015 in Nolan | 1 comment

Sidney Nolan, perhaps this country’s best known painter, was born on 22 April 1917. As his centenary approaches, so are new books making their appearance – beginning in 2014 with Brian Adams’ online Kindle e-book Sidney Nolan’s Odyssey: a life.     Although he was written about in countless monographs, catalogue essays, journals and newspaper articles etc, the first Nolan biography as such was published in 1987 only five years before his...

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Arise Sir Sidney: Nancy Underhill’s Nolan biography

Posted by on Mar 18, 2015 in Nolan | 0 comments

With the phrase “Arise Sir Sidney,” the Queen presumably bade Sidney Nolan to his feet upon knighting him in 1981 – her words echoing in a sense what his many followers have wondered of him for decades: will the real Sidney Nolan please stand up. For Nolan, maker of myths with his brush, was no less skilled a myth-maker when it came to himself.  Brian Adams, his first biographer (Sidney Nolan: Such is life, a biography, Century Hutchinson, Melbourne, 1987) has recently...

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