#NOLAN100 - NO.21

Steve Hart Dressed as a Girl, 1947

Jennifer Higgie

My favourite Sidney Nolan work must be the 'Ned Kelly' series from 1946. I partly grew up in Canberra, and seeing these paintings at the National Gallery was my first real introduction to Nolan – and I could look at them for hours. The shift in painterly tone and treatment between the bluntly painted horses and humans and the dream-like landscape they move through like ghosts taught me so much about how paint could embody disjunction and how modern artists could illustrate stories as deeply as their renaissance counterparts did.  

I never tire of these paintings and whenever I return to Canberra, I look them up. 

Jennifer Higgie is a novelist, screenwriter, art critic and co-editor of Frieze Magazine; she lives and works in London. 

Sidney Nolan, Steve Hart Dressed as a Girl, 1947, enamel paint on composition board, 90.6  x 121.1 cm, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Gift of Sunday Reed, 1977.

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