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An image of Animal in swamp by Sidney Nolan
Alternate image of Animal in swamp by Sidney Nolan

Sidney Nolan

(Australia, England 22 Apr 1917 – 28 Nov 1992)

Animal in swamp
Place of origin
Media category
Materials used
polyvinyl acetate on hardboard

151.5 x 124.0 cm frame

Signature & date
Signed l.l. corner, brown/green polyvinyl acetate paint "n". Not dated.
Gifted by Ausgrid on behalf of the NSW Government 2013
Accession number
© The Trustees of the Sidney Nolan Trust. Bridgeman Art Library
Not on display
Further information

In 1957, Sidney Nolan moved to a river frontage house at Putney in London. The muddy tidal reaches of the Thames began to influence his palette and, utilising a new medium of fast-drying polyvinyl acetate mixed with dry pigments, he began to scrape and pull the paint in thin layers across the surface of the board with a squeegee.

Still fresh in his mind was a recent visit in 1955 to Greece, where the stories of the battle at Gallipoli and the ancient myth of Leda and the Swan became new obsessions and resulted in a group of drawings in ink and crayon. These later informed the series of portraits based on the Gallipoli tragedy and the darkly haunting paintings of Leda, which he embarked upon during his Harkness Fellowship residency in New York in 1958.

Memories of forms gliding on the Thames were evoked through the slick texture of the polyvinyl acetate, allowing figures to realise themselves within the medium like apparitions haunting the watery landscape.
'Animal in swamp' was first exhibited at Durlacher Bros Gallery in New York in 1958 and included in Nolan's first retrospective, held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1967.

Bibliography (4)

Max Harris, Art and Australia [series 5, vol. 1, no. 4], 'The art collectors 1: Kim Bonython', pg. 226, Sydney, Feb 1964-Apr 1964, 226 (colour illus.).

Hal Missingham, Sidney Nolan. Retrospective exhibition. Paintings from 1937 to 1967, Sydney, 1967, 22. 22

Editor Unknown (Editor), Sotheby's Sydney: Important Australian Art, 22 April 2008, Australia, 2008, 84, 85 (colour illus.). lot no. 42; estimated price $70,000-90,000

Arts, 'In the galleries', New York, 1958, 57.

Exhibition history (3)

Sidney Nolan, Durlacher Bros., Oct 1958–Nov 1958

Sidney Nolan retrospective exhibition. Paintings from 1937 to 1967:

Important Australian art, Sotheby's Gallery Sydney, Woollahra, 22 Apr 2008 -