Kelly 1962 signed 'nolan' lower right; signed, dated and inscribed 'Kelly / nolan / 16 Aug / 1962' verso oil on board 91.5 x 122.0cm (36 x 48 1/16in).
Ned Kelly resurfaced in a new form in August 1962. Kelly was now depicted in a dreamlike, mirage, landscape that Nolan also employed in other paintings of that time such as Burke and Wills at the Gulf 1961 (in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne).
Distinguishing this Kelly series is the use of vertical colour stripes to depict the bushranger's helmet. Nolan had employed this motif in his first Kelly series painting The Chase 1946 (in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra).
In the present work, the framework of the burnt-out Glenrowan hotel, scene of Kelly's last stand, is fused with the striped image of his helmet. Kelly's downcast face stares out through the ruins. Two paintings from the first Kelly series (also in the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra), Mrs Reardon at Glenrowan and Siege at Glenrowan also depict the upright posts of the building frame and the red and yellow stripes of Kelly's helmet forming a single entity.
It appears that Nolan based this painting on a photograph taken by John Bray shortly after the 1880 Glenrowan siege (now in the State Library of Victoria, Melbourne). The photograph shows the upright posts standing much as Nolan depicted them; and to the right of the building the rectangular Glenrowan Inn sign supported on two poles.
Four works from this series, titled Ned Kelly I-IV , are illustrated in Sidney Nolan Selected Works, Marlborough Fine Art, London, May June 1979, pp. 11-14, cat. no. 1-4; another work, King Kelly, also dated 16 August 1962 is illustrated in London to Sydney, Agnew's, London, 8-19 November 2011, p. 14