Sidney Nolan - HEADS

Throughout a career that spanned over fifty years Sidney Nolan continuously painted ‘heads’.  He referred to these works in this manner through titles that he wrote on the back of each one.  They are heads, rather than portraits since although many resembled known people, they were almost all painted from memory and imagination.  They portray, through individuals, a myth, a human tragedy, a nationality, a race, a profession, an occupation, a character, a condition or even just himself.  

This selection of ‘heads’ includes works from his very early years as well as paintings from his time at The Rodd when he was working at a furious pace using car spray paint and exceptionally large canvasses.  Sidney had used spray paint to design advertising hoardings for a hat manufacturing company in Melbourne in the 30s and, writing in his notebook on 22 October 1990, he clearly had a sense of coming full circle and finishing what he had started. Click here to view the list of works

Image: Sidney Nolan, Head, 1988, oil and spray paint on canvas, 153cm x 122cm

Supported By

Arts Council England