(Australia, England 22 Apr 1917 – 28 Nov 1992)
43.2 x 55.8 cm image (irreg.); 57.4 x 68.1 cm sheet
Sidney Nolan was born at Carlton, Melbourne and grew up in St Kilda. He was enrolled at the National Gallery School in 1934 and 1936, studying sporadically under Charles Wheeler and W B McInnes. He met art patrons John and Sunday Reed in 1938, the year before he started exhibiting with the Contemporary Art Society (of which he was a foundation member) and two years before his first solo exhibition. He developed into a major painter over the following years, and was associated with the Angry Penguins group in Melbourne. In 1951 he visited Europe for the first time, followed by frequent trips to Europe, Asia, North and South America. He returned to London in 1957 where a retrospective of his work was held at the Whitechapel Gallery. In late 1957 - early 1958 he studied engraving and lithography under S W Hayter in Paris.
The Ganymed Press was founded in London in 1947. Initially involved with making collotype facsimile reproductions of drawings and watercolours, the firm began to make a number of original artist's prints in 1951 with Henry Moore. Their next venture was Nolan's Leda suite ten years later. The recipient of a Harkness Fellowship, Nolan had lived in New York from June 1958 - April 1960, during which time he developed a series of paintings on the theme of Leda and the swan. He exhibited these in 1960 when he returned to live in London; their 'latent graphic quality' led Bernhard Baer, one of the co-directors of the Ganymed Press, to suggest Nolan apply the theme to lithography.
The Gallery acquired the Leda Suite in 1994 from the Queensland Art Gallery (a deaccessioned duplicate set), who acquired them from the Ganymed Press in 1961.
Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, 'Australian prints from the Gallery's collection', AGNSW, 1998
Hendrik Kolenberg and Anne Ryan, Australian prints from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 1998, 83 (illus.). cat.no. 69
Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000