'Robbed' was created at a key moment in Sidney Nolan's early career. Dating from the artist's important 1946-47 Ned Kelly series, it is one of several paintings that were edited out of the final core of works chosen to represent the Kelly narrative.
Painted when a more lyrical mood had evolved in the series, 'Robbed' is bathed in a soft light, evoking a dreamlike quality - a portent of perhaps of impending violence. The naked figures may be humiliated police, stripped of their uniforms and their horses stolen - possibly the two whom the Kelly gang ambushed at Jerilderie. Alternatively, 'Robbed' may be loosely based on earlier incidents in Kelly's career and intended for the beginning of the series, to portray the germination of the bushranger's notoriety.
Ripolin enamel on hardboard
91.5 x 122.0 cm board; 102.0 x 132.2 x 2.0 cm frame
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Purchased with funds provided by the Nelson Meers Foundation 2004
© The Trustees of the Sidney Nolan Trust/Bridgeman Art Library
Shown in 9 exhibitions
Easter 1948, Macquarie Galleries, Sydney, 17 Mar 1948–05 Apr 1948
Sidney Nolan (1957), Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, Jun 1957–Jul 1957
- Hatton Gallery, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne 24 Mar 1961–06 May 1961
- Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield 13 May 1961–03 Jun 1961
- Temple Newsam House, England 10 Jun 1961–01 Jul 1961
- Ferens Art Gallery, Hull 08 Jul 1961–29 Jul 1961
- City Museum & Art Gallery, Bristol, Bristol 05 Aug 1961–26 Aug 1961
- Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool 02 Sep 1961–23 Sep 1961
- Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh 30 Sep 1961–28 Oct 1961
- Wakefield Art Gallery, Wakefield 04 Nov 1961–28 Nov 1961
Sidney Nolan retrospective exhibition. Paintings from 1937 to 1967:
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 13 Sep 1967–29 Oct 1967
- National Gallery of Victoria [Swanston Street], Melbourne 22 Nov 1967–17 Dec 1967
- Western Australian Art Gallery, Perth 09 Jan 1968–04 Feb 1968
Sidney Nolan: retrospective exhibition (1970):
- Arts Centre New Metropole, Folkestone 21 Feb 1970–18 Apr 1970
- Haworth Art Gallery, Accrington 30 May 1970–21 Jun 1970
- Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle- Upon-Tyne, England 04 Jul 1970–26 Jul 1970
- Ferens Art Gallery, Hull 08 Sep 1970–27 Sep 1970
- University of East Anglia Library, Norwich 11 Oct 1970–31 Oct 1970
Sidney Nolan: Gemälde und Druckgraphik (1971), Kunsthalle Darmstadt, 15 May 1971–27 Jun 1971
Sidney Nolan: retrospective exhibition (1973), Royal Dublin Society, Dublin, 19 Jun 1973–05 Jul 1973
Sidney Nolan (1976), Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Jan 1976–Mar 1976
Sidney Nolan (2007-2008):
Referenced in 35 publications
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2004, Sydney, 2004, 19 (colour illus.).
Christie's London, Topographical pictures, London, 1995, 142 (illus.), 143. lot no. 152, 'Robbed', 1947, ripolin enamel on board, sold by order of The Trustees of S.C. Mason, deceased
Kenneth Clark, Sidney Nolan: retrospective exhibition, 'Introduction', pg. 5-7, Dublin, 1973, 15. cat.no. 20, 'Robbed', 1947, ripolin, 36 x 47½in/ 91 x 121cm
Sir Kenneth Clark and Artur Lundkvist, Sidney Nolan, 'Introduktion' av Kenneth Clark, pg. 6-7, Stockholm, 1976. cat.no. 18, 'Robbed', 1947, Rånade, 91 x 122, Tillhör Mrs C Nolan
Sir Kenneth Clark, Sidney Nolan, Folkestone, 1970. cat.no. 17; titled 'Robbed', 1947, 36" x 48", ripolin, Private collection
Michael Gawenda (Editor in Chief), Age, 'AGNSW's new Nolan room', pg. 6, Melbourne, 22 Dec 2004, 6.
Our Art Critic [Paul Haefliger], Sydney Morning Herald, 'Events in Art: 1948 Review', Sydney, 01 Jan 1949, (illus.).
Our Art Critic [Paul Haefliger]., The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Imaginative art at Easter show', Sydney, 17 Mar 1948. NOTE: Review of Easter group exhibition at Macquarie Galleries held in March/April 1948.
Peter Hill, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Mix 'n' match', pg. 18, Sydney, 15 Jan 2005-16 Jan 2005, 18 (colour illus.). Spectrum supplement of Saturday's edition.
Ava Hubble, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Box Office' edited, pg. 14, Sydney, 17 Jul 1995, 14. 'On the Rialto'.
Terry Ingram, The Weekend Australian financial review, 'Nolan emerges from Kelly's shadow', pg. 40, Sydney, 22 Jan 2005-23 Jan 2005, 40.
Nicholas Isherwood, Nolan's Nolans: a reputation reassessed, London, 1997. cat.no. 30 is an earlier (1946), smaller version of the AGNSW painting
Bernd Krimmel, Sidney Nolan: Gemälde und Druckgraphik, 'Zu Bildern Sidney Nolans - such is life', pg. 5-24, Darmstadt, 1971, 34. cat.no. 12, 'Robbed', 1947, 91 x 121cm, Ripolin
Colin MacInnes', Sidney Nolan, 'Sidney Nolan: The search for an Australian Myth', pg. 9-17, London, 1957, 18. cat.no. 2, 'Robbed', 1947, ripolin on masonite, 36 x 48", Lent by the artist
Macquarie Galleries, Easter 1948, Sydney, 1948. cat.no. 15; titled 'Robbed'; priced 40 guineas
David Marr (Editor), Patrick White: letters, Milsons Point, 1994, 138. Letter from Patrick White to Sidney Nolan, dated 7/6/1958, mentioning the painting 'Robbed'.
Alistair McAlpine, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'A rare chance for a patriotic tycoon to make his mark', pg. 14, Sydney, 20 Jun 1995, 14 (illus.).
Alistair McAlpine, The Spectator, 'The heart that counts', pg. 50, London, 10 Jun 1995, 50.
Tatlock Miller., Sun, 'Art show is vital, animated', Sydney, 17 Mar 1948. NOTE: Review of Easter group exhibition at Macquarie Galleries held in March/April 1948.
Hal Missingham., Sidney Nolan. Retrospective exhibition. Paintings from 1937 to 1967, 'Introduction', Sydney, 1967. cat.no. 35, 'Robbed', 1947, 36 x 48, ripolin on board
Giucio Montagna (Editor), La Fiamma, 'Sydney [sic] Nolan at the Art Gallery of NSW', pg. 18, Leichhardt, 22 Dec 2004, 18.
Clare Morgan., The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Gallery sells off the family silver and strikes gold', Sydney, 21 Dec 2004.
Terence Mullaly., Daily Telegraph, 'Early work of Sidney Nolan: painter's progress to maturity', Sydney, 19 May 1962. page number unknown
Barry Pearce., Foundation Newsletter #4, 'The legacy of vision: Nolan and the Nelson Meers Foundation', Sydney, Jun 2004, front page (colour illus.).
Barry Pearce, Sidney Nolan, 'Nolan's Parallel Universe', pg. 17-65, Sydney, 2007, 132 (colour illus.), 233. cat.no. 42
Krystyna Pollar., The Australian, 'Nolan the nation's "greatest painter''', Sydney, 19 Dec 2004. This article also appeared in Melbourne's 'Herald Sun' and 'Daily telegraph', Adelaide's 'Advertiser' and Brisbane's 'Courier mail', on 19 December 2004.
John Reed, Art and Australia [vol. 5, no. 2], 'Nolan's Kelly paintings', pg. 443-446, Sydney, Sep 1967, 451. Related work, smaller in scale, is illustrated in colour.
John Russell., Nolan, 'Sidney Nolan', Newcastle upon Tyne, 1961, (illus.). cat.no. 36
Andrew Sayers, The Ned Kelly Paintings: Nolan at Heide 1946-47, Melbourne, 1997, 44 (colour illus.). figure no. 21; Private Collection, London (not in exhibition)
Sebastian Smee'., The Australian, 'Gallery makes room for foundation's gift of Nolans', Sydney, 21 Dec 2004.
Sotheby's Australia, The collection of Sir David Davies: Australian art 1940s to 1980s, Melbourne, 5 May 2003, Melbourne, 2003, 58, 59 (colour illus.). lot no. 48, 'Robbed', ripolin enamel on composition board, inscribed with title and dated 1947 on the reverse; inscribed 'Cynthia Nolan' on the reverse, 90 by 121 cm, Estimate: $350,000 - $550,000
Jill Sykes, Look, 'Nolan's Australia', pg. 28-31, Sydney, Oct 2004, 30 (colour illus.), 31.
Jill Sykes (Editor), Look, 'Doing justice to Nolan', pg. 8, Sydney, Mar 2005, 8.
Unknown (Editor), Sun-Herald, Sydney, 05 Nov 1997, 17.
Unknown (Editor), Sun-Herald, 'Art treasures for NSW', pg. 17, Sydney, 05 Nov 1995, 17.