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Colonial head



Sidney Nolan

Australia, England

22 Apr 1917 – 28 Nov 1992

Artist profile

  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    Ripolin enamel on cardboard
    76.2 x 65.5 cm board; 87.0 x 74.8 x 5.1 cm stretcher
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated l.r. corner, pencil "Nolan 1947".
    Signed and dated l.l. corner verso on board, red crayon "4.4.47/ nolan".

    Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales 2001
    Not on display
    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

    Nolan made several portraits of bushrangers and of an unmasked Ned Kelly. 'Colonial head' was painted as Nolan drew towards the end of his major Kelly series of 1946-47. The tie may derive from composite police photographs of the outlaw in which his head was collaged to the bodies of others, for identification purposes.

    However, this painting may be as much about Nolan himself as any bushranger. It has a certain psychological intensity relating to the artist's personal situation at this time. The atmosphere at Heide, where he was living with his patrons John and Sunday Reed, had become emotionally claustrophobic and would end in his permanent departure for Sydney only three months later.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 6 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 14 publications

Other works by Sidney Nolan

See all 140 works