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IIIF Actions
Sir Sidney Nolan, 1917–1992


Former Title(s):

Desert Storm

Materials & Techniques:
Oil on board
36 x 48 inches (91.4 x 121.9 cm)

Signed and dated, lower right: "Nolan | 53"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Friends of British Art Fund
Copyright Status:
© Estate of the Artist
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
abstract art | bone | decay | movement | skull | yellow
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

Born and raised in Australia, Sidney Nolan relocated to London in 1950. His dark, surrealist, and semiabstract canvases gained immediate critical attention, echoing as they did work by other prominent outsiders, most notably the Irish-born Francis Bacon. Nolan nevertheless returned to Australia frequently, responding in 1952 to a commission to record the effects of a great drought in Queensland. This remote Australian landscape with its “brooding air of almost Biblical intensity” moved him greatly. The carcasses of cows and horses were, as he noted, “strewn on the baked and cracked plains . . . which bear no trace of surface waters.” It was to these desolate and contorted animal forms—at least three of which are intertwined in this painting—that he returned most frequently, finding in them an image that spoke not only to the drought but also to the destruction of the Second World War.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

A Link and a Trust - Albert Tucker and Sidney Nolan's Rome Exhibition (Heide Museum of Modern Art, 2006-11-17 - 2007-05-20) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Sidney Nolan : Desert and Drought (National Gallery of Victoria, 2003-06-13 - 2003-08-24) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

20th Century Paintings and Sculpture (Yale Center for British Art, 2000-01-27 - 2000-04-30) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

A link and a trust, Albert Tucker and Sidney Nolan's Rome exhibition : Heide Museum of Art, 18 November 2006 - 20 May 2007. , Heide Museum of Modern Art, Victoria, Australia, 2006, p. 5, V 1742 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Exhibition of Paintings at the Durlacher Gallery, Arts Magazine, Vol. 30, April 1956, p. 45, N1 A415 + (A & A) [ORBIS]

Catherin Fisher, The Hype and Hope of Auctioneering, The Albion , a journal of News, Politics and Literature, August 22, 1994, p. 17, Available online Available online in FACTIVA [ORBIS]

Phillip McCarthy, If The Queen of Australia Can Be British, Why Can't Sidney Nolan?, Sydney Morning Herald, February 3, 1999, p. 11, Available online Available online in FACTIVA [ORBIS]

Phillips Sale Catalogue. Modern British and Irish Paintings, Drawings and Sculptures. Tuesday, November 26, 1996., Phillips, Tuesday, November 26, 1996, p. 58, No. 76, Sales Catalogue [ORBIS]

Geoffrey Smith, Sidney Nolan, desert & drought , National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria, 2003, p. 118, no. 68, NJ18 N69 S55 2003 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

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