Sydney Nolan’s Ned Kelly series

Sidney Nolan Ned Kelly 1946 (detail)For the first time in 15 years, the National Gallery of Australia’s collection of Sidney Nolan’s Ned Kelly paintings is touring Australia in its entirety. The national tour gives Australians across the country the chance to experience some of the most famous and poignant masterpieces of 20th-century Australian art.

While the Kelly paintings have been exhibited internationally at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, they have rarely visited the far corners of Australia.

“It is essential that all Australians have equal opportunity to access these remarkable works,” said Nick Mitzevich, NGA Director. “By experiencing this iconic group of paintings with their radical style, and anti-establishment mythology firsthand, new generations gain insight into the work of one of our most well-known artists.”

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.

“This exhibition will be immensely popular with the Greater Geelong community and a major drawcard for visitors to our great city and region,” said Jason Smith, Director & CEO, Geelong Gallery. “Following the success of the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ 2018 Archibald Prize, we look forward to presenting this major exhibition to the community.”

Concurrent to the National Gallery of Australia’s Sidney Nolan Ned Kelly series exhibition, Geelong Gallery will be exhibiting Sidney Nolan – from the collection. This selection of works drawn primarily from the Gallery’s collection reveals the materials, processes and subjects that were of interest to Sidney Nolan in the years following his acclaimed Kelly series of enamel paintings from 1946 – 47.


Sydney Nolan’s Ned Kelly series
Geelong Gallery, Little Malop Street, Geelong
Exhibition continues to 26 May 2019
Admission fees apply

For more information, visit: www.geelonggallery.org.au for details.

Image: Sidney Nolan, Ned Kelly, 1946 – from the Ned Kelly series 1946 – 47, enamel paint on composition board. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Gift of Sunday Reed 1977

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