Bonhams to sell Sidney Nolan's Nolans - Australia's most famous artist whose name is linked to that of the outlaw Ned Kelly

11 Jul 2006

A total of 64 artworks from the estate of Australia's most famous and internationally recognised artist, Sir Sidney Nolan, will be unveiled to the public in Sydney by Bonhams on Friday 9 August.

• Most important collection of Nolan's early works ever offered for sale
• Rare paintings from Nolan's formative years as an artist not seen since the 1940s.
• Majority of early works in public art galleries
• Exhibition open to the public and free to attend from 9-11 August

Estimated to fetch up to $1.3 million, 64 artworks from the estate of Sir Sidney Nolan will be on public view at Byron Kennedy Hall in the Entertainment Quarter, Sydney from 9-11 August ahead of the Bonhams Melbourne auction on 20th August.

Sidney Nolan, 1917-92 is Australia's most famous and recognised artist both in Australia and internationally. He began painting professionally in 1937 and came to worldwide fame with his Ned Kelly paintings executed in 1946-47. A Ned Kelly painting titled First Class Marksman was sold for $5.4m in 2010, a record price for any Australian painting.

The Bonhams' auction comprises paintings, drawings and a giant handwoven tapestry from the Ned Kelly series that have remained in the artist's estate since his death in 1992.

Very few early Nolan works come on to the market as the majority were donated to public art galleries by Sidney Nolan

Most of the paintings have not been seen in public since the 1940s and '50s

Highlights from the collection include:

• Girl and Dog Kiata 1943 (estimate $60,000-80,000) the companion piece to the iconic painting Kiata in the National Gallery of Australia
• Paintings from Nolan's sensational and controversial years at Heide in Melbourne with John and Sunday Reed.
• Enormous unique handwoven tapestry, 288 x 402cm Constable Fitzpatrick and Kate Kelly ($50,000-80,000) based on the painting in the National Gallery of Australia
• Rediscovered major 1946-47 painting from Nolan's Mrs Fraser and the Convict series, The Spearing of Captain Fraser ($50,000-70,000), a companion piece to Mrs Fraser in the Queensland Art Gallery
• Original Ned Kelly coloured drawing Kelly and Lonigan from circa 1945 ($3,000-5,000)
• Never before seen abstracts from 1938-41

The collection will be exhibited in Sydney from 9-11 August (10am-5pm) at Byron Kennedy Hall in the Entertainment Quarter; and in Melbourne at Como House, South Yarra, from 16-19 August (10am-5pm). It is open to the public and is free to attend.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to

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