Sir Sidney Nolan

Sidney Nolan was one of Australia’s most significant modernist artists, best known for his depictions of the history and mythology of bush life in Australia.

Sidney Nolan held his first solo exhibition in 1940 Melbourne, designed sets and costumes for the Ballets Russes production of Icare, and became a founding member of the Contemporary Art Society.

His paintings, often rich in colour, striking in composition and deliberately awkward in technique, represent Australian stories of loss, failure and capture, featuring figures such as the bushranging Kelly Gang, shipwreck victim Eliza Fraser and the explorers Burke and Wills.

Kenneth Clark, Slade Professor at Oxford, was visiting Australia in 1948, and urged Nolan to travel in Europe. Nolan left for London in 1951 and spent extended periods in Europe, the USA and Papua New Guinea.

Sir Sidney Nolan was knighted in 1981 and made an associate member of the Royal Academy of Arts (UK) in 1987 and a companion of the Order of Australia in 1988. Nolan’s work is held in numerous private, corporate and public collections all over the world and remains one of Australia’s most desirable artists.


  • Sidney Nolan – New Guinea 1965