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Australian art

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Desert landscape



Sidney Nolan

Australia, England

22 Apr 1917 - 28 Nov 1992


Winding, python-like river beds were shallow, dry ... lime-green areas, purple centred ... This was proper painter's country ... barren, patterned by zig-zagging straps, snakes wriggling off between different mountain ... Lake Rudolph became ineffably blue, breathlessly beautiful, as we approached over ground made up of every grey and brown hitherto unimagined. There were unsuspected varieties of pale orange, a new blue, strange whites. A volcano made a neat scoop beside pools, bays and spreading cut-off lagoons of verdigris and prune. Sidney was wrenched sideways, almost standing, concentrated, taut, his eyes like arrows shooting to nail this enchanted moment. Its communication, once crystallised, would be stored, held intact yet forgotten until unconsciously rather than by an act of will it would be called upon in some unpredictable future.

excerpt from Cynthia Nolan, 'One traveller's Africa', Methuen and Co., London, 1965


Other Titles


African landscape



Media category


Materials used

oil on hardboard


120.5 x 152.4 cm board; 143.5 x 174.5 x 6.0 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed l.r. corner, beige oil "N [in reverse]". Not dated.
Signed and dated u.r. verso on board [upside down], red chalk "…/ 22 / 2 / 63/ Nolan".
Signed and dated c.l. verso on board [vertically], black pencil "22 / 2 / 63/ Nolan".


Purchased with grateful acknowledgement to Cynthia Nolan 2005


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Sidney Nolan

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 5 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 16 publications


Brian Adams, Sidney Nolan: such is life, Melbourne, 1987, 160-167. NOTE: General reference.

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales annual report 2006, 'Year in review: Australian art', pg. 20-22, Sydney, 2006, 20, 22 (colour illus.).

Larry Boys, Bulletin, 'Nolan's African journey: a Bulletin portfolio', 'Roving reporter of art: Africa in vivid November from Larry Boys in London', pg. 32, Sydney, 24 Aug 1963, (colour illus.). titled 'Landscape'

Edmund Capon AM, OBE, I blame Duchamp: my life's adventures in art, 'Sidney Nolan', pg. 58-65, Sydney, 2009, 64.

Elwyn Lynn, Sidney Nolan: myth and imagery, London, 1967, 38-45. NOTE: General reference.

Hal Missingham, Sidney Nolan. Retrospective exhibition. Paintings from 1937 to 1967, Sydney, 1967. 120

Cynthia Nolan, One traveller's Africa, London, 1965, opposite 29 (illus.). titled 'Landscape'

Barry Pearce, Frances Lindsay, Lou Klepac and Edmund Capon AM, OBE, Sidney Nolan, 'The African paintings', pg. 41-45, Sydney, 2007, 14, 51, 54, 178, 188 (colour illus.), 237. 91

Barry Pearce, Look, 'Sidney Nolan and the genius of painting', pg. 12-13, Sydney, Jul 2006, 12, 13 (colour illus.).

Savill Galleries [Sydney], Sidney Nolan: miners, myths, wildlife, Sydney, 2005, (colour illus.). 12

Jill Sykes (Editor), Look, 'Nolan's Africa', pg. 13, Sydney, Dec 2014-Jan 2015, 13 (colour illus.).

Nicholas Usherwood., Nolan's Nolans: a reputation reassessed, 'Introduction', London, 1997. NOTE: General reference. Also see 65: 'Rimbaud at Harar' 1963.

Waddington Galleries (Compilator), Sidney Nolan (1989), London, 1989, (colour illus.). 9

G.S. Whittet (Editor) and David Pelham (Art Editor), The Studio, G.S. Whittet, 'May days for the Moderns: London commentary', pg. 10-11, London, Jul 1963.

Nolan: Everyone feels they know Nolan, but that is far from the truth, East Melbourne, 2018. DVD documentary

Australian and International Paintings, including Contemporary Australian art. Melbourne 1 & 2 May 2000, Melbourne, 2000, 226 (colour illus.). lot no. 263