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Policeman floating in the river



Sidney Nolan

Australia, England

22 Apr 1917 – 28 Nov 1992

Artist profile

  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    oil on hardboard
    152.0 x 122.0 cm board; 170.0 x 139.6 x 4.5 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Signed l.r., grey oil "N-".
    Signed and dated bot.c. verso [upside down], black fibre-tipped pen "27 oct 1964/ Nolan".
    Signed and dated u.l. verso, pink chalk ".../ 1964/ Nolan".

    Purchased with funds provided by Bond Street City Freeholds Ltd 1987
    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 his attempt to find a contemporary relevance for the bushranger Ned Kelly, Nolan reworked the image of the defiant, armour-clad outlaw set against the Australian bush time and again.

    Shortly after painting the series of Antarctic subjects in 1964, he produced over twenty-five 'River/Kelly' paintings, considered by the artist as preparation for the pinnacle of his career - 'Riverbend' - a work consisting of nine panels now in the Australian National Library, Canberra.

    Here the protagonist of the narrative becomes reduced in scale, dwarfed by the immensity of the tumultuous cascade of water and undergrowth. The real subject becomes the river landscape, which Nolan once explained to be a combination of the Goulburn River at Shepparton, where he had spent holidays as a child, and the Murray; areas he related strongly to his father.

    Great slashing brushstrokes contrast with areas of intense scraping back with both palette knife, fingers and paint brush handle, suggesting the actual texture of tree trunks, lush foliage and cascading water.

    Australian Art Department, AGNSW, 2000

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 3 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 3 publications

Other works by Sidney Nolan

See all 140 works