Sir Sidney Nolan

Desert Storm


Not on display

Sir Sidney Nolan 1917–1992
Oil paint on hardboard
Support: 914 × 1219 mm
Presented by Lord McAlpine of West Green 1983

Display caption

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'.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

T03553 Desert Storm c. 1955

Oil on hardboard 36 × 48 (914 × 1219)
Not inscribed
Presented by Lord McAlpine 1983
Prov: Lord McAlpine (purchased from the artist)

The artist says that this was inspired by the sight of the desert landscape of central Australia after drought, but was actually painted in London about 1955.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986


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