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Sidney Nolan's Ned Kelly series

BY Art Gallery of WA | 10-Jul-2018
Ned Kelly seen through Sidney Nolan’s rebel masterpiece series, explores themes of identity, individuality, a strong sense of place and vivid brushwork, which have cemented this series of outlaw Ned Kelly in Australia’s psyche of national identity.
AGWA focusses on the Australian iconic rebel Ned Kelly as immortalised in Sidney Nolan’s celebrated series of 26 works from the 1940s. This must see series is on short-term loan from the National Gallery of Australia. The show offers a rare opportunity to view this renowned sequence depicting the story of the fabled bush outlaw Kelly, demonstrating Nolan’s characteristic bold and expressive sense of landscape and vivid storytelling.

From 1946-47, Nolan developed an original and starkly simplified image of Ned Kelly, which quickly became a national symbol—part of the shared iconography of Australia. The NGA acquired its first Ned Kelly work from the series in 1972, Death of Sergeant Kennedy at Stringybark Creek 1946. In 1977, Sunday Reed donated to the NGA 25 of the 27 paintings from Nolan’s first exhibited Kelly series. Together, these 26 paintings provide a masterclass on Australian art history and the development of a new figuration and landscape painting in Australian art, with enamel-like surfaces on board.