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Happy 100th Birthday Sidney Nolan!

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Sidney Nolan’s birth the National Gallery of Victoria are currently displaying Nolan’s Wimmera paintings: 25 paintings and nine pastel drawings. The Wimmera paintings were gifted to the National Gallery of Victoria in 1983 by Sir Sidney and Lady Mary Nolan.

Created in rather unusual circumstances, the Wimmera paintings were produced during Nolan’s military service between 1942 and 1944.

Conscripted into the Australian Army in 1942 and stationed in various Wimmera towns, this period represents some of Nolan’s first attempts at depicting the Australian landscape.

Despite the conditions under which the modernist paintings were created, there is little military influence to be found. Instead the paintings capture both Nolan’s unique interpretations of Australia’s landscape and point towards Nolan’s literary influences. As an avid reader, literature plays a crucial part in understanding Nolan’s thoughts and imagery.

Alongside the resonances of the regional landscape, Nolan also drew upon his knowledge of European and twentieth-century art. Through a combination of these widespread influences, plus Nolan’s quiet sense of observation, the artist created the Wimmera paintings.

Wimmera paintings
Sidney Nolan
National Gallery of Victoria – The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia
April – July 2017

Tiarney Miekus