Libby Edwards Galleries & Art Consultancy

Sidney Nolan

"Three Animals around Tree"
mixed media on paper
63.5 x 52cm
$AUD 35,000.00

framed (gold leaf) 1963

Provenance: The Estate of Arthur Boyd, Australia


There is no requirement for an art-speak definition of this work. It’s classic Nolan. The paint is applied onto the paper with a succession of deft strokes. The glaze drips through a masterfully controlled sequence of deep maroons and whites, to establish a framework. In this case, the framework is a sequence of primitively applied lines, which establishes a matrix of sorts, and the dimly lit aperture of a stylised man running.

Are the intertwined beasts an interpretation of urban life, or just the inconsequential musings of a draughtsman? Whatever the case, there’s a fusion of the frenetic and delicately understated line. The tree becomes distilled into a simple form at its most skeletal.  A palm, and its fronds, are evoked through a few lines.  The animals are converted into a painterly shorthand suggesting movement and energy.  All of this combines to give us the profound sense of being witness to something both surreal and fantasy. That’s  Nolans’ trick, to inject the sense of some other, the other being our participation, as invitees, to travel the journey into the richly symbolic. This aint no ordinary tree, and the animals, fused in a withering pattern of light, suggest there’s energy here, and for is to adorn our walls with an alternative view of the world around us.