#Nolan 100

No 88. Footballer - Gerard Vaughan


No 88. Footballer - Gerard Vaughan

Sidney Nolan played a central role in the collecting and curatorial life of the NGV in the first decade of the 21st century following its redevelopment and the opening in 2002 of a new building in Federation Square in central Melbourne, exclusively dedicated to Australian art.

The new Ian Potter Centre hosted two major Nolan exhibitions in fairly quick succession, Desert and Drought in 2003, and a major retrospective in 2008, undertaken in partnership with the AGNSW.

When Footballer was offered to the NGV in 2002 it was obvious that we had to acquire this icon of Melbourne sport, completed in August 1946. The debate continues as to whether it is a purely generic image, or references a particular St Kilda footy star. Journalists speculated it was Keith Miller, a famous full back, but in his catalogue of 2007, Barry Pearce quotes Nolan saying it was another player, Bill Mohr. The price of $500,000 seemed a lot, and money was short because of the redevelopment. At last Fosters generously agreed to put up half the cost, and we turned to the government to help with the rest. Premier Steve Bracks was sympathetic, but his PR people imposed a condition - that we get the Premier on to The Footy Show to present it to the Gallery live on air, then the most popular sports show on Australian TV with considerably more than a million viewers. Host Eddie Maguire agreed, and the event was set up. The Footy Show was, and remains, famous for horsing around. I managed to discover that some of their writers were planning a big joke - that they would secretly have a copy made, and when the Premier unveiled it, it would suffer a terrible accident, after which the ‘real’ Footballer would be revealed. Fortunately, we saw that one off, but the event was a big success, and the whole community was talking about Nolan’s Footballer.

Shortly after, we announced an open day for the public to visit our just-completed new building in Federation Square, before the collections were installed. We then announced that we would hang just one picture, Footballer, in a space facing across to the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Nolan had the entire building to himself - and hundreds of thousands turned up over the weekend.

A few years later, in 2006, we acquired The Temptation of St Anthony, 1952, from Jinx Nolan, for which we paid $800,000, evincing severe criticism from the press, as no Nolan could be worth that much, but the inexorable rise of the market had begun. In 2010 the Government of Victoria provided $2.2 million for the acquisition of Kelly with Horse, 1955 (which I always liked to describe as ‘Kelly with attitude’), as the State’s special gift for the celebration of the NGV’s 150th anniversary the next year, 2011, with which we launched a new fundraising campaign for acquisitions. This time there was no press criticism about the price, as in March that year the AGNSW had paid $5.4 million at auction for Nolan’s First Class Marksman, sold by Steve Vizard, which still holds the record for an Australian picture sold at auction.

So, in every sense, it was Nolan’s decade in his home town.”

Gerard Vaughan, Director, National Gallery of Australia. https://nga.gov.au/

Sidney Nolan, Footballer, 1946, enamel paint on composition board, 121.9 × 91.4 cm, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Purchased with the assistance of the Government of Victoria, Foster's Group Limited, and through the NGV Foundation, 2002. © Sidney Nolan Trust / Bridgeman Images. 

No.1 - Four Abstracts - Alexander Downer

No.2 - Self Portrait - Angus Trumble

No.3 - Arabian Tree - Kendrah Morgan

No.4 Riverbend I - Francine Stock

No.5 - Desert - Andrew Logan

No.6 Dog and Duck - Jane Clark

No.7 Vivisector - Tim Abdallah

No.8 In the Cave - Rebecca Daniels

No.9 Young Soldier - Clare Woods

No.10 Ned Kelly - Shaun Gladwell

No.11 Bird - Deborah Ely

No. 12 Hare in Trap - Nicholas Usherwood

No.13 Untitled (Catani Arch, St Kilda) - David Rainey

No.14 Death of a Poet - Simon Martin

No.15 Study for Samson et Dalila - Elijah Moshinsky

No.16 Rimbaud at Harar - Edmund Capon AM OBE

No.17 Quilting the Armour - Jackie Haliday

No.18 Snake - David Walsh

No.19 Angel and the Tree - Dr Nicky McWilliam

No.20 Brian the Stockman at Wave Hill Mounting a Dead Horse - Damian Smith

No.21 Steve Hart Dressed as a Girl -Jennifer Higgie

No.22 Women and Billabong - Anthony Plant

No.23 Agricultural Hotel - Philip Mead

No.24 Policeman in a Wombat Hole - Kay Whitney

No.25 Peter Grimes - David Lipsey

No.26 Self Portrait in Youth - Barry Pearce & Duncan Fallowell

No.27 Riverbend I - Ian Dungavell

No.28 Drowned Soldier at Anzac as Icarus - Paul Gough

No.29 Thames - John Tooley

No.30 Girl - Amelda Langslow

No.31 Ned Kelly and Policeman - Daniel Crawshaw

No.32 Tarred and Feathered - Nick Cave

No.33 Self Portrait - Denise Mimmocchi

No.34 Peter Grimes's Apprentice - George Vass

No.35 The Emu Hunt - Roger Law

No.36 Luna Park - Paula Dredge

No.37 Rose in Coffee Pot - Anthony Collier

No.38 The Cardplayers - Nevin Jayawardena

No.39 Bathers - Lesley Harding

No.40 Aboriginal Girl - Jennie Milne

No.41 Pretty Polly Mine - Michael Brand

No 42. Roses in a Merric Boyd Vase - Jack Galloway

No 43. Brett Whiteley - Jonathan Watkins

No 44. Island - Nick Yelverton

No 45. Luna Park - Bill Granger

No 46. Face of the Damned - Kate McMillan

No 47. Central Australia - Leanne Santoro

No 48. Crane - Brian Adams

No 49. Myself - Simon Mundy

No 50. Going to Work, Rising Sun Hotel, 1948 - David Ferry

No 51. Figure at Harar - Andrew Turley

No 52, Greek Figures - Simon Pierse

No 53. Randolph Stow - Suzanne Falkiner

No 54. Landscape No.27 (Convalescence) - Suzanne Falkiner

No 55. Self portrait - Oliver McCall

No 56. McMurdo Sound - Mike Clements

No 57. Faun, Woman, Rider, Horse - Mark Fraser

No 58. Season in Hell (Benjamin Britten) - Anne Bean

No 59. The Slip - Humphrey Ocean

No 60. Central Australia - Chris Drury

No 61. Riverbend - Christina Slade

No 62. Head - Celia Johnson

No 63. Myth Rider - Desmond Browne

No 64. Stockman - Bridget McDonnell

No 65. Untitled (flower) - Roma Piotrowska

No 66. Chinese Landscape - Celia Perceval

No 67. Untitled - Des Hughes

No 68. Crucifixion - Rod Bugg

No 69. Icebergs - Laurence Hall

No 70. Bather in a Lily Pool - Amanda Fitzwilliams

No 71. Breaks like the Atlantic Ocean on my head - Michael Berkeley

No 72. Carcase in Swamp - Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva

No 73. Ern Malley - Isabella Boorman

No 74. Mrs Reardon at Glenrowan - Adrian Kelly

No 75. Landscape Carnarvon Range, Queensland - Catherine Noske

No 76. Abraham and Isaac - Sarah Bardwell

No 77. Rosa Mutabilis - Catherine Hunter

No 78. Artist drawing nude - Victoria Lynn

No 79. Boy and the moon - Natalie Wilson

NO 80. Explorer and Township - Helen Idle

No 81. All Tastes Like Dust in the Mouth... - Carolyn Leder

No 82. Young Boy Who Was Good at Latin - Roxy Shaw

No 83. Mrs Fraser - Anne Carter

No 84. Paradise Garden - David Oliver

No 85. Leda and the Swan - Marilyn Sweet

No 86. Burke and Wills at the Gulf - Jenny Watson

No 87. Dream of the latrine sitter - Ryan Johnston

No 88. Footballer - Gerard Vaughan

NO 89. Sketch for Ned Kelly - Amanda Fuller

NO 90. Woman in Lagoon - Jinx Nolan

No 91. Cherries in a bowl - Peter Blake

No 92. Fountain - Heywood Hill

No 93. Artist and painting - Charles Nodrum

No 94. Death of Constable Scanlon - Anita Taylor

No 95. Untitled (abstract) - David Jaffe

No 96. Digital image - Joe Studholme

No 97. Seated figure and bird - Sally Aitken

No 98. Burke and Wills expedition 'Gray sick' - Gary Sangster

No 99. Kangaroo at Ayers Rock - Pru and Anthony Napolitano

No 100. The Galaxy - Elizabeth Langslow