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Like 'Carcase in Swamp', which is also displayed in this room, 'Desert Storm' was inspired by the disastrous drought which afflicted Australia in 1950-52. In this work Nolan's subject is the landscape itself, rather than the carcasses of cattle, and he forcefully evokes a scene of limitless desolation and silence, devoid of life. As with Nolan's many other treatments of this subject, the work was painted retrospectively, in this case in London some three years after the drought. The scene is thus an imaginative recreation of Nolan's impressions. Writing in 1955 one critic observed that 'It may even be that he understands more about Australia when viewed from a distance'.

August 2004