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Self portrait



Sidney Nolan

Australia, England

22 Apr 1917 – 28 Nov 1992

Artist profile

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Dimboola Victoria Australia
    Media category
    Materials used
    Ripolin enamel on hessian sacking
    61.0 x 52.0 cm stretcher; 72.0 x 62.8 x 4.5 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated l.l., blue ball-point pen onto dry paint film "N ["N" backwards] March 43".
    Signed and dated centre verso, brown crayon "... / Nolan ["N" backwards]/ March 1943".
    Signed and dated verso on strainer right member, pencil "12/6/43 Nolan".

    Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales 1997
    South Building, ground level, 20th-century galleries
    Accession number
    © The Trustees of the Sidney Nolan Trust/DACS. Copyright Agency

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    Artist information
    Sidney Nolan

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


  • About

    From the outset of his career in Melbourne, Sidney Nolan stood out as a highly original artist. He painted 'Self portrait' at the age of 26, during his military service in the Wimmera district of north-west Victoria. It embodies many of his
    preoccupations at the time, including his interest in the landscape as subject.

    Nolan's imagery recalled the mask-like faces painted by so-called 'haptic' children in Viktor Lowenfeld's book 'The nature of creative activity', which he and other artists were reading at that time. Another source may be indicated in a letter
    Nolan wrote to his patron and muse, Sunday Reed, in 1944, in which he admires Picasso's use of African cicatrisation or scarification and Māori markings in portraits. Selective distortion, exaggeration and the visual impact of pure, bold primary colours express Nolan's feelings about his surroundings; however, the image is tempered by the lyrical passages depicting the vast Wimmera landscape.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Video

    Video 19:54

    Violence and sunlight: the art of Sidney Nolan

    Watch on Gallery Channel

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 14 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 54 publications

Other works by Sidney Nolan

See all 140 works