Nolan’s fixation with flowers began in 1968, spurred by the Mexican muralists and the rare sight of Central Australia in full bloom after rain. Across the subsequent years he would create over a thousand botanical portraits, 768 of which were installed at the National Gallery of Victoria as part of the Bicentenary exhibition of Australian art. This same sequence was then exhibited at the Tate, London before being gifted to the Victorian Arts Centre.
A selection of the works and Nolan’s poetry were also immortalised in Alistair McApline’s 1971 book, Paradise Gardens. In his introduction, Robert Melville states that it “should be called a bestiary of wild flowers, for these specimens are the gorgons… griffons… phoenixes of the plant world”. Indeed, there is a magic to Blackman’s flowers - a timeless power that is not often present in floral studies.
Nolan’s Paradise Gardens can be divided into three subsections: primeval plants emerging from the mud; blooming florals in springtime; and death, or the flower returning to earth. ‘Wild Orchids’ perhaps sits between springtime and winter. It is at once full of flowers and achingly delicate. Like its sister botanicals, this work is embedded in the miracle of life after drought; the triumph and preciousness of beauty after pain.
For collectors of Modern art, Nolan and florals, ‘Wild Orchid’ is a beautiful vestige of the artist’s legacy.
Sidney NOLAN (1917 - 1992)
'Wild Orchids' 1970
oil on paper
Image Size: 29 x 24 cm
Dimensions: 58 x 53 x 4 cm
Signed: Signed lower right: Nolan; signed and dated verso: 8 Nov 70 Nolan titled on gallery label verso.
Comes with Letter of Provenance
Availability: in stock
© Sidney Nolan / Copyright Agency 2021
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