Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sidney Nolan

Miracle of miracles! I actually know who Sidney Nolan is. He's an artist. He's the one who did the Ned Kelly stuff. I also vaguely remember writing about someone who had a connection to Nolan. I thought about it last night, and all I could remember was it was someone who had a fairly scandalous life, and that it might have been a name that Andrew suggested. What's awesome is I just started remembering more. I suddenly got the feeling the person also had a connection to Nicole Kidman. Then I remembered some people thought Kidman had named her baby after her. The person I'm thinking of is Sunday something. I could search through my blog for the answer, but that would take too much time. I'll just start my research on Nolan. I'm sure to come across this Sunday person.

Lord Wiki says that baby Sidney was born in Melbourne on 22 April 1917. The suburb he was born in was Carlton. It's slightly north of the CBD. Lord Wiki says in its previous days it was a Jewish and Italian area. Oh, okay. It's also home of Carlton Gardens. Yeah. Why didn't I think of that? It makes sense. If we end up in Melbourne next time we go to Australia, I'm sure will find ourselves visiting this Carlton area. The Melbourne Museum is there. Jack loves museums.

Nolan was the eldest of four kids. Lord Wiki says the family later moved to St. Kilda. I wonder what age he was when they made the move. I might find that out later. The schools he went to were on Brighton Road. That's in St. Kilda, so I'm guessing he moved at an early age.

Nolan dropped out of school at the age of fourteen. He took art classes at the Prahan Technical Art School, which no longer seems to exists.

When Nolan was sixteen, he began doing advertisement work for a company called Fayrefield Hats. Lord Wiki says he did that work for about six years. Here's a website about the hat company. The site says that by 1880, the company was called The Denton Hat Factory. So that's what it would have been called while Nolan worked there.

As Nolan worked in advertising, he also sometimes took night classes at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School. I think this has some connection to the Sunday woman. I'm having vague memories of writing about this school.

Ah! Here we go. I found Sunday. Sunday Reed. She was a patron of the arts. Thanks, Lord Wiki.

And we have the Heide Circle....the group of artists. I remember that. And I remember Andrew telling me he had a post about it, and he had warned me that he spelled something wrong.

I'm so proud of my memory for kicking in.

I got to remind myself about what this Heide thing is.

Lord Wiki says it was a place owned by Mr. and Mrs. Reed. The artists who worked there became known as the Heide Circle. There was some exciting art going on, with some exciting sex as well. Mrs. Reed had sex with the artists, and her husband knew. That's cool. I'm sure Jesus and his followers wouldn't approve. But I'm not one of them, so I'm fine with it. My feeling is if all adults say yes, let them have their fun.

The Heide place is now a museum. They have a cubism exhibit right now. Anyone interested in that type of art, might want to check it out.

In 1938, Nolan married his first wife. It didn't work out. Lord Wiki blames the break up on Nolan's involvement with the Reeds. Maybe she wasn't so okay with all the sex stuff.

Nolan deserted the army during World War II. Then he went to live with the Reeds. There he painted the Ned Kelly paintings. Rumor has it that Sunday Reed gave him input. What kind of input? I don't know.

There is such a soap opera here though. Nolan had an affair with Sunday. Yet he went and married Sunday's sister-in-law (John's sister). Oh okay. He did that because Sunday refused to leave John to marry him. So although maybe Mr. Reed was okay with the open relationships, maybe Nolan was less so. Perhaps he didn't want to share.

A few decades later, Nolan found his third wife. This was part of the Boyd family...someone else that Andrew had wanted me to write about. I wrote about Martin. Nolan didn't marry him. He married Mary.

Nolan wasn't just part of the Heide Circle. He was also an Angry Penguin. I've heard of this, but I can't remember what it is exactly.

Lord Wiki says it's a literary and artistic movement. The Australian Government Cultural Portal has some information about it.

It was a modernization movement that occurred in the 1940's. The artists wanted to move Australian art forward. They were influenced by surrealism from Europe.

The page talks a bit more about Nolan's involvement in World War II. Lord Wiki was a bit skimpy with that information. Anyway, Nolan served at Dimboola which is in Victoria. So I guess he never went overseas for the war.

Lord Wiki says that Nolan did the famous Ned Kelly paintings from 1946-1947. Then he left the paintings at the Reed home. It was all part of a dramatic exit. He wrote Sunday Reed and told her she could keep the paintings. But then later he demanded them back. She returned many of his paintings, but refused to give him back the Ned Kelly ones. She wanted them for the Heide museum. This story has so much drama.

Eventually, Reed gave the paintings to the National Gallery of Australia. I wonder why she did that rather than keeping them at the Heide Museum.

The National Gallery says she handed over twenty-five of twenty-six paintings. Maybe she kept one for the Heide Museum.

Okay. Now Lord Wiki has some more war stuff. He says that his painting of Ned Kelly might have symbolized Nolan's own escape from the law. Nolan himself was a fugitive because he abandoned the military.

After the 1940's, Nolan did some traveling. He did Greece, Paris, the United States, Africa, China, and even Antarctica. I think traveling is a valuable activity for most people, but especially writers and artists. Although if a person doesn't like traveling, they can write and paint about their hometown. That would work too, I'm sure.

Well, I'm done with Lord Wiki. I'm kind of on a time restraint today because we're having visitors. So I'm going to just look at sites that have paintings. Then I'll probably quit.

Here's something called The Nolan Gallery Foundation. They obtained twenty-four Nolan paintings in 1974. The gallery is part of the Lanyon museum in the ACT.

They have one of the Ned Kelly paintings. Was it the one that Sunday Reed didn't give to the National Gallery? Or had Nolan painting much more than twenty-six paintings of Ned Kelly? Lord Wiki said she had returned many paintings to him. Maybe some of those included the Kelly ones. Maybe she had kept only a fraction.

I think Ned Kelly looks like a robot in the painting.

Wait. I'm wrong. They have more than one Ned Kelly painting. They have several.

I can't say I really love the paintings. They're really not my type of thing.

This Woman and Tent painting is kind of creepy.

This Australian War Memorial site says that Nolan did some work in memory of Gallipoli. The collection consisted of 252 drawings and paintings. He gave it to the War Memorial in 1978.

They say Nolan's brother died in the war. I'm confused. Lord Wiki says Nolan was the eldest of his brothers. He deserted the military in World War II. How would he have had a brother at Gallipoli? Maybe there was an older brother born way before?

All right. I'm getting it now. This ABC site says it was Nolan's younger brother who died, and he died during the second world war, not the first one. That makes much more sense.

The Art Gallery of New South Wales had an exhibit on Nolan. They have videos of Nolan talking about his work, but unfortunately the video's not working for me.

They have some paintings. I'll look at those. Maybe there will be something I like. I feel guilty for not liking his work. It's yet another thing to add to my failure list of things I SHOULD like if I want to be a proper Aussie wannabe....Cricket, Vegemite, Beer, Paul Keating, and now we might have Sidney Nolan.

Oh never mind....well, not about my failure to be a proper Aussie wannabe. But I can't see the paintings on this site.

I'm going to cruise around Google Images instead.

I found something I like!!! It has no people in it....just outback scenery. Maybe I don't like the way that Nolan paints people. I love the red colors. It's very Martian-looking. And that's one of the things I love about Australia. Sometimes it reminds me of Mars.

I think this painting is incredibly creepy. It's called Mrs. Fraser. She's an important Aussie historical person, right? I don't know much about her though. Oh good. The website has some information on her story. Why didn't I think of this before? Fraser Island is named after her. I get mad at myself for not noticing these connections. Anyway, she was a woman who was shipwrecked. Some say Fraser was held captive by some Aborigines, and others say she was rescued by them. I'd say Nolan took the latter view because Fraser seems to be suffering in his depiction. It reminds me of something from The Exorcist. It's a bit like the spider-walking scene.

I was going to go and research a bit more about Eliza Fraser...find out what happened. But I don't feel I have time for that now. I'll just add her to the list. I'll get back to her later....well, several month from now. There's 175 people on the list right now. So it's going to take me about five to six months to reach Fraser. I'll probably be writing about her sometime in July.

Anyway, I'm going to say good-bye to Mr. Nolan. I need to clean up the house a little bit.

2 comments:

Andrew said...

I had forgotten about getting that name wrong. Prahran Technical Art School was probably at what is now the Prahran campus of Swinburne Technical and Further Education.

Dina said...

Andrew,

I think it's a miracle I remembered that.