Sidney Nolan (1917-1992) Ned Kelly in a Landscape 1964
Lot 113
Sidney Nolan (1917-1992) Ned Kelly in a Landscape 1964
Sold
Auction Details
Lot Details
Sidney Nolan (1917-1992)
Ned Kelly in a Landscape 1964
initialed 'N' lower left; inscribed '3 August 1964' lower right
oil on board
120.5 x 121.0cm (47 7/16 x 47 5/8in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE
    Joseph Brown Gallery, Melbourne (label attached verso)
    Private collection
    Australian and European Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings, Part I, Christies, Melbourne, 27 August 1997, lot 35
    Savill Gallery, Sydney (label attached verso)
    Private collection, Melbourne

    EXHIBITED
    Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, New York
    Ned Kelly and Beyond, Savill Galleries, Sydney, 18 March – 9 April 1998, no. 6 (illus.)

    The spirit of rebellion that lies close to the Australian heart has Ned Kelly as its hero, the national icon for the inherit dislike of authority. Sidney Nolan was tarred with the same brush as his fellow Irish descendant, except Nolan's brush was that of a highly gifted artist who painted his armoured bandit in a variety of landscapes that speak of his love of its beauty and unique Antipodean character. Kelly is as wild and rugged as the country he inhabits, stirred by the spirit that gave us Eureka Stockade, Waltzing Matilda, and the ANZACS. He grew up in north-east Victoria, living at 'Eleven Mile Creek in [as Manning Clark wrote] "one of those tracts of country where the bonds of civilisation had been so loosened that men threatened to become as savage as the region." ' 1 Like in the best of legends, facts are never allowed to interfere with the telling of a good story as Kelley morphed from history into mythology aided by the inventive lyricism of Nolan's imagination. The cry for injustice muffles the violence, as Constable Scanlon is shot from his horse in a world of up-side-downess, and Sergeant Kennedy's blood stains the earth of Stringybark Creek. 2 There is a quality about these first Kelly series of paintings of 1946-47 that distinguishes them as great works of art –individuality of imagery, a naivety at once elegant and sophisticated, dressed in the most seductive of colours. Paradox is as central to Nolan as is Kelly. He is the subject of his finest paintings, riding through his career in his most popular works. Their arresting visual impact relies on the directness of statement. Here, a seeming simplicity catches then draws the eye into the painterly surfaces, adding strength to the dramatic narrative. Nolan's adaptation of Kelly's armour is not only a focal point but also a feature of attraction. Black, Centaur-like on horseback, his iron-masked head a television-shaped screen through which the sky or countryside can be viewed – as in the first series Ned Kelly 1946 (National Gallery of Australia, Canberra), and in the painting on offer, Ned Kelly in a Landscape 1964. By the sixties, as can be seen in the title and imagery of our painting, Kelly had become part of the landscape, celebrated with magnificence in the mighty Riverbend I 1964-65 in the collection of The Australian National University, Canberra. Painted on nine panels and huge in size, the figure of Kelly, though now diminutive, is not overwhelmed. The black helmeted figure still draws the eye as Kelly and the Australian landscape become one. While Ned Kelly in a Landscape 1964 offers the collector a more containable version, the mythological hero now thrives in an equally heroic landscape, the outlaw inventively double-imaged as one.



    1. Manning Clark, A History of Australia, London, 1995, quoted in T. G. Rosenthal, Sidney Nolan, Thames & Hudson Ltd, London, 2002, pp.

    2. See Death of Constable Scanlon and Death of Sergeant Kennedy at Stringybark Creek, 1946, collection of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.



    DAVID THOMAS
Activities
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Motor Cars and Motorcycles:

Buyer's Premium Rates
22% on the Hammer Price

GST at the current rate of 10% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Contacts
  1. Alex Clark
    Specialist - Australian Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    Como House
    Melbourne, Australia 3141
    Work +61 3 8640 4088
    FaxFax: +61 2 9475 4110
Similar items
Sidney Nolan (1917-1992) St Francis receiving the stigmata 1951 Sidney Nolan (1917-1992) Esplanade, St Kilda 1946 Sidney Nolan (1917-1992) Constable Fitzpatrick and Kate Kelly c.1973, based on the painting of the same name, 1946 Sidney Nolan (1917-1992) Girl and dog, Kiata, Wimmera c.1943; River landscape and figure c.1943 verso Sidney Nolan (1917-1992) Platypus Bay, Fraser Island 1947 Sidney Nolan (1917-1992) Landscape 1947