Posted by on Apr 28, 2016 in Events | 0 comments

A detailed summary follows of events planned to mark Sidney Nolan’s centenary in 2017-18, including time, place and location. The list of events will be updated as information comes to hand. Links to reviews will be added later, if and when available.


The Sidney Nolan Trust held a Press Conference in London on 2 November 2016 to announce their plans to mark the Centenary in the UK. Details appear below, and for the latest up-to-date information always check the Centenary page on the Trust website.


As at early November 2016 there have been little, if indeed any, announcements from Australian institutions regarding plans to mark the Centenary here. Just two weeks before his centenary on 22 April 2017, not overly much has changed.


CURRENT and FORTHCOMING EVENTS to mark Sidney Nolan’s centenary




30 September – 28 January 2018

Sidney Nolan and Graham Sutherland: A Sense of Place

Oriel Y Parc Gallery, High Street, Saint David’s, Pembrokeshire, SA62 6NW

In partnership between the Sydney Nolan Trust and Oriel y Parc, this exhibition explores parallels in the work of Nolan (1917-1992) and Sutherland (1903-1980) who were both profoundly affected by a sense of place. The Trust is delighted to have the chance to show Nolan’s work at this lovely gallery, a unique collaboration between Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority. For more details see the Trust website and The Oriel y Parc website

Opening Hours: 10am – 4pm daily


18 November – 2o May 2018

Making History: Nolan at the Newsagent

Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne

Mark Fraser and Kendrah Morgan are co-curating what should prove to be an exhibition of great interest to the Nolan aficionado. To be housed in Heide I, the old farmhouse where Nolan lived, loved and painted from 1941 to 1947, Nolan at the Newsagent will examine and, as far as possible, recreate an exhibition in the window of Sheffield’s newsagency in Heidelberg of a number of his early works. The Sheffield exhibition was the idea of Nolan’s benefactors, John and Sunday Reed, to take art ‘to the people’ rather than to an exclusive audience in an art gallery. The ‘people’ however were singularly unimpressed and all works, low priced and mostly experimental landscape images, remained unsold. As with We who love: the Nolan slates (reviewed here), rarely does one have the opportunity to see a body of little known and seldom exhibited works originating in a brief, discrete, yet significant period in the early career of an artist as famed as Nolan. For more details of Nolan at the Newsagent check the Heide website here.


November to January 2018

Exhibition: Back of Beyond drawings

British Museum, Gallery 90a

Sidney Nolan’s ‘Back of Beyond’ drawings were made in 1954 shortly after the artist’s arrival in London from Australia. The drawings were inspired by Nolan’s visit to the harsh outback of Australia during the filming of the documentary ‘The Back of Beyond’ in 1952. The series of drawings were shown during the Venice Film Festival in the summer of 1954 where the film directed by John Heyer with a narration partly scripted by the Australian poet Douglas Stewart was awarded the Grand Prix.

Lady Mary Nolan, Nolan’s widow, gave 13 of these celebrated drawings to the British Museum in 2006, supplemented by a further group of eight in 2011. The centenary will be an opportunity to show this famous set of drawings that was widely admired and reproduced in the first monograph on Sidney Nolan by Kenneth Clark, Colin MacInnes and Bryan Robertson in 1961. Several of the drawings were included in the British Museum’s exhibition ‘Out of Australia’ in 2011.


3 January

The Art of Sidney Nolan: an illustrated talk by Dr Simon Pierse

Oriel Y Parc Gallery, High Street, Saint David’s, Pembrokeshire, SA62 6NW

Dr Simon Pierse, Emeritus Senior Lecturer at Aberystwyth University School of Art, is an art historian with interests in British perceptions of Australian art and identity. He is author of Australian Art and Artists in London 1950- 1965: An Antipodean Summer and contributed to the publication Transferences: Sidney Nolan in Britain that accompanied the Nolan exhibition at Pallant House Gallery Feb-June 2017. His illustrated talk will explore Nolan’s oeuvre and consider the ongoing impact of Nolan’s legacy as celebrations marking the centenary of his birth draw to a close.



PAST EVENTS marking Sidney Nolan’s centenary




3 September – 2 April 2017

We who love: the Nolan slates

Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne

Although not designed specifically for the Centenary year, this exhibition is not to be missed. In a six month period from late 1941 to June 1942 Nolan painted on more than two dozen discarded roofing slates. The paintings brim with luscious motifs variously repeated in the works: hands, feet, flowers, lovers, boats, birds, and most emblematically, angels. During this same period, from mid 1941, he also painted more than a dozen canvasses incorporating the same imagery in luminous out-of-the-real-world colour. We who love: the Nolan slates (reviewed here) is a sumptuous visual experience on which the eye can feast. Rarely does one have the opportunity to see a body of little known and seldom exhibited works originating in a brief, discrete, yet significant period in the early career of an artist as famed as Nolan.





Royal Academy of Arts, London

An “absolutely enormous” self portrait by Nolan will be hung in the General Assembly room in December in advance of the centenary.




23 January – 12 November

Sidney Nolan Centenary

Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne

To mark the centenary, Heide Museum of Modern Art pays tribute to Nolan’s iconic Ned Kelly series, conceived and painted in the dining room of the original Heide farmhouse from March 1946 until July 1947. Part of the Heide Collection, Kelly at the Mine (1946-47) will be displayed alongside a selection of Nolan memorabilia in the Heide I library. A program of Kelly-focused talks and tours will run throughout 2017. Visitors can learn the fascinating story of the Kelly paintings, from their inception to their departure from Heide, with a focus not only on the paintings’ history but also on exciting recent scientific revelations that shed light on Nolan’s techniques and creative decision-making.


26 January, Australia Day

Launch of Nolan 100

An online collection of images of Sidney Nolan’s works selected by collectors, artists, curators, critics, friends and family. Each image has a particular poignancy or significance to its selector, articulated with a short piece of text. The Nolan 100 images are viewable on the Sidney Nolan Trust website and Instagram feed.




19 February – 4 June

Transferences: Sidney Nolan in Britain

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester.

Curated by Artistic Director of Pallant House Gallery, Simon Martin and art historian Dr Rebecca Daniels, this major exhibition will chart Nolan’s time living and working in Britain, focussing on the recurrent themes in his work of Australian history and literature, mythology and tragic hero/ anti- hero. The exhibition will bring together some of Nolan’s most iconic images – such as that of notorious outlaw Ned Kelly – and will also highlight Nolan’s life-long interest in music and theatre with a display of his set designs and costumes created for Royal Ballet’s 1962 production of the Rite of Spring – a production that is still performed to this day. A fine catalogue has been published – read a review here: aCOMMENT on the catalogue Transferences: Sidney Nolan in Britain


MARCH 2017


3 March

Nolan in Britain Symposium

Menzies Centre, King’s College, London

Organised and hosted by the Menzies Centre of Australian Studies this half-day symposium will feature panel conversations with prominent academics and artists including Shaun Gladwell and Nicholas Usherwood. The symposium will be moderated by Jonathan Watkins, Director of Birmingham’s acclaimed Ikon Gallery, followed by reception at the Australian High Commission.


27 March – 9 April

Sidney Nolan: A Centenary Exhibition: Masterpieces from Private Collections

Sotheby’s Australia, 30 Queen Street, Woollahra, Sydney

Promoted as the most significant private loan exhibition of paintings by Sidney Nolan ever staged in Australia, Sotheby’s are showing more than two dozen paintings said to have been exclusively sourced from Australian and international private collections for a strictly limited two week exhibition. No works of art are for sale and proceeds from the exhibition and associated events raise funds for Opera Australia.

See and


30 March

Australian $1 Nolan stamp issue

Australia Post celebrates the centenary of the birth of Sidney Nolan in a new stamp issue featuring his painting Footballer 1946 and a photographic portrait of Nolan by Axel Poignant.


APRIL 2017


21 April – 5 May

Unseen: Works from the Sidney Nolan Trust Collection

Australian High Commission, Australia House, Strand, London, WC2B 4LA. Entrance via Melbourne Place.

To mark Sidney Nolan’s 100th birthday on 22 April 2017, the Australian High Commission will host an exhibition of paintings drawn from the artist’s private collection and which go on public display for the first time outside his former home. Featuring 28 works that give a very personal view of Nolan and his techniques, approach and ideas, the exhibition spans almost his entire career. A portrait of the poet Rimbaud created in 1938 hangs alongside some of Nolan’s last works, a series of four abstract spray-painted murals reunited for the first time in 30 years. These paintings were never offered for sale or exhibition and remained in Nolan’s personal collection until his death in 1992; they are now part of the collection of the Sidney Nolan Trust, the charity that Nolan himself founded in 1985.

Click here for further details


22 April


Royal Academy of Arts, London

A day-long symposium drawing on three aspects of Nolan’s artistic journey: Nolan as a global artist with profile and influence across two continents; Nolan’s breadth of practice and why being a polymath has been lost in the younger generation of artists; materiality and how Nolan’s wide use of materials put him ahead of the game. Booking opens, initially to Friends of the RA, from 6th February.

For full details of the symposium, including speakers and subject, see


22 April 2017 – 14 May 2017

Sidney Nolan’s man behind Ned Kelly mask revealed

Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne

Working in collaboration with the scientific research centre Australian Synchrotron, and utilising its state of the art technology, art conservators have imaged pigments buried underneath layers of paint to reveal a face behind the mask of Sidney Nolan’s painting Ned Kelly, “Nobody knows anything about my case but myself” (1945). Visitors can view the face behind the mask as part of a virtual reality display. Both Ned Kelly, “Nobody knows anything about my case but myself” and Kelly at the Mine (1946-47) will be displayed alongside a selection of Nolan memorabilia in commemoration of the centenary of Sidney Nolan’s birth.


22 April 2017 – August 2017

Sidney Nolan Centenary

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

A Sidney Nolan Centenary Program now appears on the Gallery website.  An extended display of its Nolan collection has been mounted in a dedicated room in the 20th century Australian galleries, opening on 22 April. Also planned is a series of talks, lectures and workshops, presented throughout the year. Further programs will be announced soon. Check details on this link or sign up to ArtMail to stay informed.


25 April

Sidney Nolan at 100 – Still Radical

19:30 – 21:30 BST

Talk at the Chapel, Highgate Cemetery, Swains Lane, London View Map

Simon Mundy, poet, novelist, biographer and friend of Nolan will cover Nolan’s life and mark the first anniversary of his wife Mary’s burial with him in Highgate Cemetery. Simon Mundy has written a short introductory biography on Nolan especially for his centenary.

Admission by Ticket


MAY 2017


25 May

Formal opening of Nolan’s studio

The Rodd, Herefordshire


26 May – 29 August

Nolan at The Rodd

The Rodd, Herefordshire

Sidney Nolan’s studio in The Rodd, his home in Herefordshire, has remained untouched since his death.  As part of the centenary celebrations, it will be open to the public for the first time, giving an insight into his creative workings. The Gallery at The Rodd will show a selection of works from the Trust’s Nolan collection. The Studio and Gallery will be open daily (closed Sundays) 10am-5pm.


 • Venue: Tata Tent at Hay Festival

Germaine Greer will feature in a “celebration of the great Australian artist who settled at The Rodd in Kington. Nolan exhibited at our very first Festival 30 years ago.” See here for more details. The Trust has posted that they “can’t wait to hear Germaine Greer’s talk on Nolan at the Hay Festival.” As will many – let’s hope it can be YouTubed!


JUNE 2017


10 June – 3 September

Spray Portraits

Ikon Gallery, 1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace, Birmingham, B1 2HS

An opportunity to see Nolan’s powerful spray painted portraits, created towards the end of his life, which place his work in a modern context.  The portraits feature individuals Nolan identified with, such as Arthur Rimbaud, Francis Bacon, Benjamin Britten and Brett Whiteley. Also included is a powerful series of works concerning aboriginal deaths in custody, largely unseen in the UK. Click HERE for more details.

Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday & bank holiday Mondays 11am – 5pm


26 June

Symposium – Sidney Nolan

6.00pm — 8.00pm

Ikon Gallery, 1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace, Birmingham, B1 2HS

Join Dr Ian Henderson, King’s College London, for a keynote lecture on the representation of aboriginal figures in Nolan’s paintings. This will be followed by a round table discussion, concerned more generally with Nolan’s impact on contemporary art, with artists Clare Woods, Kate McMillan, Shaun Gladwell and Tim Maguire, chaired by Jonathan Harris, Birmingham School of Art. Click HERE for more details.

Free, suggested donation £3
Booking essential

JULY 2017

July – December

Showings of Nolan works held in regional collections

Nationwide in the UK



19 August

Nolan’s modern paints: materials of an artistic outlaw

11.00 am

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

Hear Dr Paula Dredge deliver the 2017 Dundas Memorial Lecture. Dr Dredge,  head of painting conservation at AGNSW, has made the analytical and historical study of the household paints used by Sidney Nolan the focus of several years research and scholarship leading to her doctorate in 2013 and culminating this year in a research residency at Nolan’s studio at ‘The Rodd’. Click HERE for more details.

$15 adult; $10 concession & members; Plus $2 online transaction fee

24 – 29 August

Mary Nolan Memorial recital

Presteigne Festival of Music & the Arts

The 2017 festival features a recital in memory of Sidney’s wife, Mary Nolan, who died in 2016. The Presteigne Festival takes place in the historic Radnorshire town of Presteigne, close to The Rodd where the Sidney Nolan Trust is based. It features new commissions and contemporary works alongside the classical repertoire.


24 – 29 August

Nolan exhibition

The Rodd

Exhibition of rarely seen Nolan paintings in the Trust’s Gallery at Nolan’s former home, The Rodd.


25 August – 31 October

Sidney Nolan: the Greek Series

Hellenic Museum, 280 William Street, Melbourne.

Mark Fraser and Sarah Craig are co-curating Sidney Nolan: the Greek Series which launches at the Hellenic Museum on 24 August 2017. With 61 works currently on loan from the Estate of Lady Nolan, and never before exhibited in Australia as a single body of work, this should prove to be a show of distinction. Nolan and his wife Cynthia lived on the Greek island of Hydra for several months in 1955/6 in company with a group of Bohemian expatriates including Chairman Clift, George Johnstone, Peter Finch, Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen. The experience fuelled and inspired an Odyssean quest in Nolan, and produced works such as these. For more details check the website here. Another possible first is the recourse to crowdfunding, serving to highlight the parlous state of Arts funding worldwide. However it does give to all reading this, the opportunity to put our money where our hearts are. Please consider your contribution here.

Museum Admission: Adult: $10.00; Concession: $5.00; Children six an under, free


Film screening and Q&A panel

venue tbc

In celebration of Sidney Nolan’s most famous image, that of the legendary bushranger and outlaw Ned Kelly, the Sidney Nolan Trust will be screening the award-winning1960 film ‘Ned Kelly: Australian Paintings by Sidney Nolan’. The screening will be followed by a Q&A panel discussion exploring Nolan’s fascination with Kelly and why it has become such an iconic image.




2nd week of September

Herefordshire Art Week exhibition

The Rodd

h.Art Herefordshire Art Week is a nine-day art trail for artists, makers and creative businesses to open studios, galleries and group exhibitions. For 2017 the Trust will feature a special exhibition of works by artists-in-residence alongside established and emerging artists, in response to the Nolan centenary.

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