Sidney Nolan / Sidney Nolan (1917-1992) Man, Essendon, 1937
Sold for AU$9,840 inc. premium
Sidney Nolan (1917-1992)
inscribed upper left: 'Essendon / November 37'
oil on board
40.5 x 30.5cm (15 15/16 x 12in).
Sir Sidney Nolan, United Kingdom, until 1992
Lady Nolan, United Kingdom, until 2016
The Estate of Lady Nolan, United Kingdom
Man, Essendon, predates Nolan's figurative paintings in public collections and is a unique modernist work from this period. 1937 is regarded as Nolan's first year as a professional artist. He had recently left home and moved into a flat above a shop in central Melbourne with other young artists. His work in the art department at Fayrefield Hats, where he had been since 1933 producing advertisements and displays, came to an end and he took a job at Hamburger Bill's, reputedly the city's first fast-food place. In desperation he returned to Fayrefield and was set to work rolling hot felt but his participation in a strike forced his departure. His final job that year was at Essendon Aerodrome as a cleaner and it was the exhaustion and despair there that gave him the courage to ask Sir Keith Murdoch for a travel scholarship. Perhaps impressed by Nolan's boldness - he arrived without an appointment - Murdoch sent him down the corridor to his art critic Basil Burdett who rejected his scholarship but recommended that he meet John Reed, an art patron. Nolan's relationship with Reed, his wife Sunday, and his sister Cynthia were to shape the rest of Nolan's life.