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Sidney Nolan was born in Melbourne in 1917. Arguably, one of the greatest painters in Australian art history, Nolan is probably best known for his immediate approach to painting and his iconic representations of the Australian landscape.
In 1948 Sidney Nolan first visited the Australian outback. The landscape plays a vital role in Nolan's paintings. The experience of seeing the vast desert terrain had a serious impact on the artist, permeating his artistic sensibility with a vision of Australia that he had never experienced before.
In 1955 Nolan moved abroad but continued to travel back to Australia on regular visits. It was not until 1968 however, on an extended stay in Australia that the landscape would become a central motif to his creative oeuvre. In fact, Nolan would identify his kinship to the land. He said 'I suppose that this is one landscape in the world I understand fully - I still find it beautiful, just as if I had seen it yesterday and not five years ago. I find it more than beautiful. I get a tremendous source of energy from it. We all have totems, apparently this landscape is mine.' Reference: Geoffrey Smith, 'Sidney Nolan', National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne 2004, p. 127.
The paintings and prints that depict the Australian outlaw Ned Kelly are regarded as most important works of Nolan's career. From the inception of the series, in 1946-47, Nolan continued to work on the Ned Kelly theme until his death in 1992. The importance of the iconography for Nolan and his viewers is observed by Tom Rosenthal in his book; Sidney Nolan; 'Ned Kelly has, by a process surely unique in the history of painting, become Sidney Nolan's image of him'.
Later, Nolan painted interpretations of historical figures such as Burke and Wills, in which he expressed the vastness of the landscape and the timelessness of the myth. Also, Nolan designed sets for ballet and opera performances and created numerous illustrations for books. He died in London on 28 November 1992, aged 75.
Savill Galleries has been dealing with the work of Sidney Nolan since inception in 1987. The gallery holds a significant collection of Nolan's work and will consider the purchase of authentic Sidney Nolan paintings held in private or public collection. References: Elwyn Lynn, Sidney Nolan: Myth and Imagery, Macmillan, Melbourne, 1967; Brian Adams, Sidney Nolan: Such is life, a biography, Hutchinson, Melbourne, 1987; Jane Clark, Sidney Nolan: Landscapes and legends, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 1987.