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An image of Escaped convict by Sidney Nolan

Sidney Nolan

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

Escaped convict
Media category
Materials used
oil, synthetic polymer paint on hardboard

152.3 x 122.0 cm board

Signature & date
Signed l.r., "N". Dated verso, "1962".
Purchased 1963
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

'Escaped convict' is part of a second series based on the legend of Mrs Fraser, which had captivated Nolan following his first visit to Fraser Island, Queensland in 1947.

In the legend, the brig 'Stirling Castle' ran aground off Great Sandy Island. The crew, including Captain and Mrs Fraser, abandoned ship and eventually landed on the northern tip of the island. Captain Fraser perished and the remaining survivors were captured by the island's Aboriginal inhabitants.

Mrs Fraser survived until her rescue by convict John Graham, who found her and brought her back to safety. Finding that Mrs Fraser had rescinded her promise to intercede for his free pardon, Graham then escaped the authorities, hiding in the impenetrable jungle of the island which today bears the name of his betrayer.

In this series, Nolan experimented with a new medium of oil mixed with polyvinyl acetate creating a soft, sensuous, translucent quality. This was a departure from the past two decades when the artist had relied on the fast-drying effects of Ripolin enamel which resulted in a flat, opaque surface. Here Nolan has scoured and scraped the paint away, creating an illusion of rich glaring light, rather like the effect of tempera or watercolour.

Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000

Bibliography (8)

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 116 (colour illus.).

Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1962 Acquisitions, Sydney, 1962, 16. 17

Robyn Bondfield., Nolan's Fraser, 'Nolan's Fraser', South Brisbane, 1989, (colour illus.). not paginated

Elwyn Lynn, Hemisphere, 'Sidney Nolan: Myth-maker of Australian painting', pg. 18-25, North Sydney, Oct 1963, 21 (illus.).

Hal Missingham, Sidney Nolan. Retrospective exhibition. Paintings from 1937 to 1967, 'Introduction', pg. 5-8, Sydney, 1967, 4 (illus.), 5, 22. 103

Hal Missingham (Editor), Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, Sydney, Oct 1967, 369 (illus.).

Elwyn Lynn, Sidney Nolan - Australia, Sydney, 1979, 128, 129 (colour illus.).

Skinner Galleries, Perth, Nolan, Perth, 1962. 4; Priced in pen £1,800.

Exhibition history (5)

Nolan. Recent paintings, Skinner Galleries, Perth, Perth, 26 Nov 1962–22 Dec 1962

Nolan [1962], Skinner Galleries, Perth, Perth, 26 Nov 1962–22 Dec 1962

Acquisitions 1962, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 10 Apr 1963–12 May 1963

Sidney Nolan retrospective exhibition. Paintings from 1937 to 1967:

Australian icons: twenty artists from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 04 Aug 2000–03 Dec 2000