Sir Sidney Nolan om ac ra - key dates

22 April 1917     Born in North Carlton, Melbourne

1918                  Family move to Pakington Street, St. Kilda, Melbourne

1928-31             Nolan attends Brighton Technical School to learn carpentry, metalwork and architectural drawing

1932                   He is taught painting by William Dargie at Prahran Technical College

1933                   Employed by Fayrefield Hats to paint enamel signage boards using spray paints

1937                   Paints en plein air at Mount Hotham

1938                   Decides to become a full-time painter. Lives at St Kilda and marries Elizabeth Paterson; grand-niece of landscape painter, John Ford Patterson. Their daughter Amelda is born in 1941 but Sidney and Elizabeth separate that year when he moves in with John and Sunday Reed at Heide, Melbourne

1939                   Australia declares war on Germany

                           Meets Albert Tucker and Joy Hester

1939-40             Designs for de Basil’s ballet production – Icare

1941-45             He makes Luna Park paintings based on boyhood memories

1942                   Reports for duty at Caulfield Induction Camp

1944                   Australia experiences a terrible drought

1946 – 47          Reads Inner History of the Kelly Gang, Royal Commission Report and paints the first Ned Kelly series at Heide, Melbourne

1947-53             Paints Queensland and Central Australia Fraser Island and Drought paintings

1948                   Marries Cynthia Reed (sister of John Reed) and adopts her daughter, Jinx. Lives in Wahroonga, Sydney

1949                   Painting of Abandoned Mine admired by Kenneth Clarke – a British art historian; he purchases Little Dog Mine

                            Takes the Ghan railway to Alice Springs with Cynthia and Jinx

1950-1               Visits Europe for the first time

1953                   Settles in London; continues to travel extensively

1954                   Appointed Australian Commissioner for Venice Biennale, with William Dobell and Russell Drysdale

                            Returns to London to paint Crucifix series

1955-56             Spends nine months living on the Greek island of Hydra. Paints mythological series that later informs the Gallipoli series

1957                   Moves to 61 Deodar Rd, Putney

1958                   Travels to Paris; produces etchings at Hayter’s press. Pilgrimage to D. H. Lawrence’s ranch at Taos, New Mexico

1959                   Spends six months in New York. Cynthia is diagnosed with tuberculosis

1960                   Returns to London aboard RMS Queen Mary, living first in Maida Vale, then moving to 79 Deodar Rd, Putney in September

                            Nolan exhibits two works in Recent Australian Paintings at the Whitechapel Galleries.

                            Paintings: Leda and the Swan

1962     Royal Opera House, Covent Garden commissions costumes and stage sets for Stravinsky’s, Rite of Spring produced by Kenneth MacMillan. Boy and Moon used as a backcloth

                            Commonwealth Games in Perth

                            Duke of Edinburgh purchases Strange Fruit

1962-64             Paintings: Antarctica, Africa and desert themes

1963                   Nolan recognised in New Year’s Honour’s list

                            Commander of Order of British Empire

1964                   Nolan travels to New Zealand and McMurdo

                            Station, Ross Island and Shackleton’s Hut

1965                   Eureka Stockade mural painted on enamel

                            Painted Riverbend paintings

1967                   Oskar Kokoschka visits Nolan in London

                            A series of 50th birthday exhibitions are arranged

                            Travels to Tahiti Mexico and Brazil

1968                   Exhibits at Aldeburgh Festival

                            Receives Honorary Doctorate of Law. ANU, Canberra

1969                   Works on series Paradise Garden. Exhibits with Arthur Boyd

                            Travels with Kenneth Clarke to Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

1970                   Retrospective show in Folkestone

                            Paradise Garden is unveiled at NGV, Melbourne

                            Embarks on Snake piece consisting of 1,620 painting

1971                   Awarded Honorary Doctorate, University of London and York University

1973                   Nolan presents Sydney Opera House with Shark and Little Shark pieces

1974                   Nolan presents Ern Malley series for a festival at Adelaide Gallery

1975                   Nolan gifts 24 paintings to the Lanyon Homestead, Canberra

1976                   Travels to Morocco, Canary Islands, Norway and Zaire

                            Cynthia dies, November, from an overdose of barbiturates, in a London hotel; in December; Benjamin Britten, a great friend of Sidney’s, dies of heart failure

1977                   Sidney visits Mary Perceval (youngest sister of Arthur Boyd), who is now living at the Ruthland, Herefordshire, to recuperate

                            Awarded Honorary Doctorate of Letters, Sydney University

                            Visit to Shoalhaven, Arthur Boyd’s new home in New South Wales

1978                   Sidney and Mary marry in January

                            Visits New Mexico, Tahiti, China and Australia

1979                   Starts series of Chinese Artefacts in oils

1980                   Revisits China as a guest

1981                   Exhibits in China

1982                   Presents Paradise Garden to the people of Victoria. Hammer Hall, Melbourne

1983                   Sidney and Mary buy The Rodd, a 17th century manor house; in December he is invested with the OM insignia by HM The Queen

                            Visits, Broome, Kimberly Ranges and Darwin

                            Begins a series of spray painted works known as the Silk Road

1985                   Sidney and Mary found the Sidney Nolan Trust

                           Nolan purchases more land near Bundanon, Boyd’s property

1986                   Two large pieces commissioned by Hongkong Land for Exchange Square

                            Six paintings gifted to Irish Museum of Art

1987                   Sidney Nolan: Such is Life by biographer and documentary maker Brian Adams is aired on Channel 4

1988                   Nolan is invested by Queen as Companion of the Order of Australia

1989                   Embarks on Wild Geese series

                            Australian Antarctic Territories issue four stamps from Nolan’s paintings

1991                   Sidney is elected a Royal Academician

1992                   Sidney dies on 29th November at his Whitehall Court apartment in London; his funeral is at St Martin’s in the Fields; he is buried at Highgate Cemetery

2016                   Mary dies on 6th April, at The Rodd; she is buried with Sidney at Highgate Cemetery

2017                   We celebrate the Centenary of Sidney’s birth with exhibitions and events around the UK and internationally

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