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Sidney Nolan / Sidney Nolan (1917-1992) Selby Landscape, c.1937

Lot 3
Sidney Nolan
Selby Landscape, c.1937
23 August 2022, 18:00 AEST

AU$15,000 - AU$25,000

Sidney Nolan (1917-1992)

Selby Landscape, c.1937
oil and mixed media on cardboard
27.5 x 34.5cm (10 13/16 x 13 9/16in).


Sir Sidney Nolan, United Kingdom, until 1992
Lady Nolan, United Kingdom, until 2016
The Estate of Lady Nolan, United Kingdom

Selby, 1937, oil on board, 20.0 x 23.0cm, private collection, Melbourne, Bonhams 24 November 2020, lot 27, sold for $73,800 (inc. BP)
For a similar example to the image on the reverse, see Kendrah Morgan, Sidney Nolan: early experiments, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, 2012, Untitled (Abstract Study), 1938, p. 11 (illus.)

Figure and Dog, c.1938
oil and mixed media on cardboard
34.5 x 27.5cm

Nolan painted three landscapes in the Kiewa Valley in the summer of 1936-37 (see lot 1) in a Post-Impressionist manner, but it was during his stay at Selby a few months later that he took his first significant steps to paint in a contemporary style reminiscent of Paul Klee. As with the Kiewa Valley paintings, only three examples are known. The Selby works mark the starting point of Nolan's career as a modern painter.

The story of Nolan's Selby painting trip was filled with incidents. He and artist Howard Matthews, both short of money, decided to use the little they had to go to the isolated country near Selby, east of Melbourne. Taking culinary advice from Matthews' sister they packed jars of pickled tripe and a supply of madeira wine. The adventures began on the journey there and Nolan later recalled that he brandished his rabbiting gun at a waiter and later at the shopkeeper who had the keys to the cottage. Once settled-in, they painted, read and entertained visitors, the most celebrated of whom was the distinguished, elderly, artist Rupert Bunny. Bunny's visit had an inauspicious start as he and Noel Blaubaum, an art student who drove him from Melbourne, both fell in a ditch in the dark, but after their arrival late that night, Bunny's stories of his decades painting in France reinforced Nolan's view that he must do anything he could to leave Australia. Meanwhile Blaubaum and Matthews had an argument that once again involved firing the rifle. After a few weeks of tripe and the madeira emptied, Nolan returned to Melbourne.1

1 Brian Adams, Sidney Nolan: Such is Life, a Biography, Hutchinson, Melbourne, 1987, pp. 22-26.

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