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Norman Lindsay

(Australia 23 Feb 1879 – 21 Nov 1969)

Bacchanal or The vintage festival
Other titles:
The vintage festival
Media category
Materials used
pencil, pen and black ink on ivory wove paper

28.2 x 25.3 cm image; 32.6 x 28.4 cm sheet

Signature & date
Signed l.r., pen and black ink "NORMAN LINDSAY". Not dated.
Purchased 1943
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

The eroticism of Lindsay's images defied the pervasive hypocrisy and wowserism of the time. Rubery Bennett, the artist's agent gave the following account of a bishop's response to Lindsay's subjects:

"A Bishop came in one day accompanied by a lesser dignitary of the church and asked could he see some of Norman's etchings - afterwards I thought he probably meant Lionel's. However, we had a big folio and we used to allow the lid to fall down and let the etchings fall flat on the lid. He saw about four or five and then he slammed the folio shut and in a most outraged and dignified manner told me that they were frightful, vulgar and obscene, in fact, that they reminded him of a lot of prostitutes. My reply was that I bowed to his superior knowledge as I had never seen a nude prostitute. When I told Norman he said 'Bloody Liar!'. "

Bibliography (8)

Deborah Edwards, Stampede of the Lower Gods: Classical Mythology in Australian Art, 'The Antipodean Arcady / 'When Pan purloined Apollo's lyre'', pg. 8-31, Sydney, Sep 1989, 18 (illus.), 19, 63.

Farmer & Co Limited (Compilator), Catalogue exhibition and sale of paintings by Arthur Streeton, Sydney, Nov 1923, 10, 14 (illus.). 6; titled 'The Bacchanal'

Gavin Fry, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'J.J. Hilder / Blamire Young / Norman Lindsay', pg. 72-87, Sydney, 2002, 82, 83 (colour illus.), 145, 147.

Hendrik Kolenberg, The portrait and the nude: Australian drawings from the collection, Sydney, 1990. 48

New South Wales Society of Artists, Society of Artists Exhibition, New South Wales, 1907. 17. Entry as "A Bacchanal. Black and White, 15gns."

Ursula Prunster, The legendary Lindsays, Roseville, 1995, 37 (illus.).

Sydney Ure Smith and Leon Gellert (Editors), Art in Australia [series 3, no. 40], Sydney, 15 Oct 1931. plate no. 14. Entry as "Bacchanal. In the possession of Arthur Streeton Esq."

Author Unknown, Pen Drawings of Norman Lindsay, Sydney, 1918. plate no. XIX. Entry as "Bacchanal. 1905. Collection of Arthur Streeton."

Exhibition history (7)

Society of Artists Spring Exhibition (1907), Society Rooms, Queen Victoria Markets, Sydney, 16 Aug 1907 -

Exhibition & auction sale: Paintings by Arthur Streeton (1923), Farmer's Exhibition Hall, Sydney, 27 Nov 1923–28 Nov 1923

Stampede of the Lower Gods: Classical Mythology in Australian Art 1890's-1930's, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 19 Oct 1989–26 Nov 1989

The portrait and the nude: Australian drawings from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 18 Aug 1990–28 Oct 1990

The Legendary Lindsays:

Bodyline, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre, 03 Feb 2001–08 Apr 2001

Parallel Visions: Twenty-two artists from the Australian collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Feb 2002–May 2003