The studio of the artist Sidney Nolan – one of the leading figures of 20th-century art, best known for his iconic paintings of Ned Kelly – was recently revealed to the public for the first time since his death in 1992.
Nolan moved to the UK from Australia in the ’50s and remained here until his death 40 years later. In the ’80s he moved to a 17th-century farm called The Rodd, where he set up a charitable trust in his own name that still operates today. 2017 marks the centenary of his birth.
Shut away under layers of plastic, the studio is typically cramped and utilitarian and houses a large collection of art materials accumulated over 50 years. The opening of the studio gave a rare insight into Nolan’s artistic world, his use of materials, his techniques and methods of creating his works.
There are over 1,000 items in the space including handmade paints dating back to 1941, cans of household and spray paints – Nolan’s preferred materials. He liked to work fast and these paints can be applied fast! Also on show are bottles of PVA glue – Nolan was one of the first artists to use PVA, into which he mixed colour pigments. There are also some binoculars that were the wrong way round – which enabled him to get distance on the work, not possible otherwise with the work laid flat. Plus a big yellow light he used to emulate the daylight in Australia.
The studio was open over the summer, as part of the nationwide Sidney Nolan Centenary 2017. Here, we give you a sneak into Nolan’s world.
All images courtesy of Sydney Nolan Trust