# 43120

McGUIRE, M. E.

Cynthia Nolan : A biography

$35.00 AUD

Melbourne : Melbourne Books, 2016. Octavo, laminated boards, cloth spine, pp. 192, illustrated. New copy.

Cynthia Reed, single mother, psychiatric nurse, novelist and connoisseur, married Sidney Nolan in Sydney in 1948. England served as their home base from 1953, territory charted in her four travel books, until her death in 1976. Prior to her marriage to Sidney Nolan, Cynthia lived a full and varied life. Raised on an estate near Launceston, Tasmania, she travelled to America and Europe to train as a nurse. The chapters covering her brief but significant influence on contemporary art and design in Melbourne provide a rare glimpse into the artistic and cultural milieu of the time. In Cynthia’s letters and books we hear her distinctive and discriminating voice, revealing her struggle for stability, independence and a worthy life, as well as the problematic relationship she had with John and Sunday Reed at Heide. In this book, Cynthia’s unpopularity in Australia in the sixties is accounted for and the stereotypes of the envious sister-in-law, the mad artist’s wife and the nihilistic suicide is dismantled.

M. E. McGuire, born and raised in Brisbane, first heard of Cynthia Nolan before her death. She was at this time, in that place, meeting some few but impressive artists’ wives. She left Brisbane in the wake of the great flood of 1974, and studied Art History and English at the University of Melbourne. Research eventually led her back to Cynthia Nolan and her books, which in time would lead her to Cynthia Reed.

McGuire taught art history at Prahran Art School, Monash University and the Victorian College of the Arts. In 1995 she published her book All Things Opposite: Essays on Australian Art.” – the publisher

‘McGuire’s voice is a rare one within the various discourses of Australian art. It is the quiet yet acutely critical murmur of a certain woman thinking, in finally unreserved ways, of the lives of women in Australian art. Women artists and women who strive endlessly to find time to be artists, women who write about art and, not least, women who live with male artists. These are, as we come to see, often the same women.’ — Terry Smith, Art and Australia