22 Apr 1917 - 28 Nov 1992
Sidney Nolan created this collage using 19th-century wood-cut illustrations, changing its orientation and juxtaposing disparate images to defy any narrative interpretation. The stark tonal contrast of black and white lends emotive force and a surreal, dreamlike quality. Nolan’s unorthodox approach sought to disorient the senses in order to convey an intense emotional reality, inspired particularly by French poet Arthur Rimbaud (1854–91).
Fascinated by the multi-functional potential of collage, Nolan combined its sculptural capacity with the shapes and tones of his source materials to create an abstract composition. His patchwork quilt-like structure suggests movement or fracture and forces our perception to slip between surface
and illusory depth.
collage of wood-cut illustrations on book page
20.1 x 13.1 cm sheet (irreg.)
Signature & date
Signed and dated upper c. verso, pen and black ink "Dec. 1940. Nolan".
Not on display
© The Trustees of the Sidney Nolan Trust/Bridgeman Art Library
Referenced in 7 publications
Christopher Chapman, Surrealism in Australia, Canberra, 1993, 10,14.
Cubism & Australian art, Melbourne, 2009, 114-115.
Sidney Nolan: myth and imagery, London, 1967, 9-10.
Contemporary Australian collage and its origins, Roseville, 1990, 19, 30-32.
Kendrah Morgan, Sidney Nolan: early experiments with Narelle Jubelin: Coda, Bulleen, 2012, 11-12.
Sidney Nolan, London, 2002, 25.