The work of Sir Sidney Nolan



London W1S 4JD 35 on September 8 Albemarle Street, Agnew’s Gallery opens its new premises with an exhibition  dedicated to the work of Sir Sidney Nolan (1917-1992), the internationally acclaimed Australian artist who was hailed by the art historian, Kenneth Clark, as one of the leading artists of the twentieth century.
Born in Melbourne of Irish stock, Nolan was largely self-taught as an artist, having worked as a tram conductor, dish washer and display designer in a hat factory before turning to painting as a career. Aged 21, he attracted the notice of the arts patrons John and Sunday Reed, whose house, near the Melbourne suburb of Heidelberg, was frequented by a group of young artists who have become known as ‘The Angry Penguins’ after a contemporary journal of that title. Nolan married in 1938 and later entered a ménage-a-trois with the Reeds. Having been conscripted into the army in 1942, he deserted a year later and had to live under an assumed name. In 1946 he began a series of paintings of the infamous outlaw and bush Ranger, Ned Kelly. The impact of the paintings, now considered icons of modern art, was to turn Nolan into the ‘enfant terrible’ of Australian art, setting him on a path to international recognition. (burke, liverbank)