Sidney Nolan (hardcover)
With an introduction by Edmund Capon and contributions by Frances Lindsay and Lou Klepac. Sydney : Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2007. Quarto, boards in illustrated dustjacket (a couple of surface scratches), pp. 272, illustrated.
“This catalogue documents the first major Nolan retrospective since the artist’s death in London in 1992. Given the sheer quantity of works available, the selection has been restricted to a certain pitch that Nolan aimed to strike mainly within the single painting, rather than his murals and multi-panel installations, impressive and ambitious though they may be. In following a strict chronology, it avoids emphasis on any particular theme. In his later years Nolan hoped to be recognised above all for his formal inventiveness, as he attempted to take painterly language towards a confluence with poetry and music in keeping with the vision of his hero Rimbaud, the French poet he discovered in his youth and who remained a life-time influence. At the same time, he recognised the pragmatic benefit of masquerading as an anecdotal artist, by his own admission juggling two things: a psychic idea of painting for its own sake; and the need to convey a story.” — dust jacket.
The speed at which Sidney Nolan worked, and the expansiveness of his production, has always presented something of a dilemma for the retrospective defining of his genius. John Olsen once described Nolan as having a wild eye, by which he was able to glimpse a motif with the instantaneousness of a lens shutter, spawning a bewildering plethora of images, from ephemeral sketches to large-scale compositions, many of which have become indelible icons of 20th century Australian art. This retrospective, consisting of approximately 116 paintings, will be presented in chronological order, underlining the evolution of Nolans vision from its genesis in St Kilda during the late 1930s to the United Kingdom half a century later.