Sir Sidney Nolan

Inland Australia


Not on display

Sir Sidney Nolan 1917–1992
Oil paint on hardboard
Support: 1219 × 1524 mm
frame: 1370 × 1676 × 58 mm
Purchased 1951

Display caption

In June 1948 Nolan embarked on a period of travel to remote areas of Australia. Travelling by truck, train, aeroplane and boat, he journeyed inland across New South Wales to Adelaide. He then went north across the central desert to Darwin, returning via the Western coast to Sydney. The view of inland Australia seen from the air made the greatest impression on Nolan. He was profoundly affected by the vast scale, desolation and silence of the desert - the second largest in the world. Like his many other paintings of this subject, this work is what Nolan called a 'composite impression'. It combines documentary observation with visionary imagination, faithfully evoking a landscape whose immensity seems strangely unreal.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry


Inscr. ‘23-3-50 Nolan’ b.r.
Ripolin on hardboard, 48×60 (121·5×152).
Purchased from the artist through the Redfern Gallery (Knapping Fund) 1951.
Coll: K. Bonython 1950, relinquished in favour of the Tate Gallery 1951.
Exh: David Jones Gallery, Sydney, April 1950 (38); Redfern Gallery, January 1951 (7).
Lit: Clark, MacInnes and Robertson, 1961, p.20.

Painted early in 1950, one of forty-seven pictures executed 1949–50 when the artist visited Central Australia; the trip was made largely by plane, ‘creating to a large extent the impression from which the picture was painted’ (letter from the artist, February 1951).

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II



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