We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Nostalgia for the sky



Sidney Nolan

Australia, England

22 Apr 1917 – 28 Nov 1992

Artist profile

  • Details

    Media categories
    Drawing , Sketchbook
    Materials used
    alkyd and oil on ivory wove paper (page from spiral bound sketchbook)
    24.6 x 27.1 cm sheet
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Dated u.l. corner verso, pencil "1-11-1942".

    Purchased 2013
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © The Trustees of the Sidney Nolan Trust/DACS. Copyright Agency

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Sidney Nolan

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


  • About

    In 1942, Sidney Nolan was conscripted into the army. For two years he was stationed at Dimboola on the Wimmera River in western Victoria. Ironically, his time here allowed for a period of intense artistic experimentation and existential investigation. Painting the vast and featureless space of the Wimmera flatlands revolutionised his landscapes, but he also turned his attention to the expressive possibilities of the figure.

    Studying the writings of Sigmund Freud and Melbourne psychiatrist Reg Ellery during this time inspired a series of surrealist-like figures that channel a sense of wartime menace. These strange characters from Nolan’s Dimboola sketchbook – an upward gazing, feline-like devilish figure and local farmer whose features appear inverted by old age – reveal the psychological portraits Nolan created from people he encountered.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications

    • Paula Dredge, Sidney Nolan: The Artist’s Materials, Los Angeles, 2020, 24, 25 (colour illus.), 109, 120, 132 (index). fig. 20

    • John Saxby, Look, 'A window opens on new stories about building the collection', pg. 26-28, Sydney, May 2015, 28 (colour illus.).

Other works by Sidney Nolan

See all 140 works