Sidney Nolan RA centenary symposium

Courses and Classes

Saturday 22 April 2017
11am — 5pm

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Sidney Nolan RA, Icebergs (McMurdo Sound, Antarctica), 1964.

Sidney Nolan Trust. Photo courtesy of Agnew's and Bridgeman Images.

This symposium explores critical themes in contemporary art, drawing on Nolan’s work, practise and influence across countries and continents. Themes include the global artist and internationalism, the artist as polymath, and materiality and the artistic process.

An Australian born of Irish descent, Sidney Nolan RA described himself as “a citizen of the planet”. He travelled extensively throughout Europe, Africa, China, Australia and Antarctica, living in England in the latter part of his life but regularly returning to Australia and abroad. Nolan was internationally celebrated in his life-time and is widely recognised as one of Australia’s leading artists of the 20th century. His vibrant use of colours, depictions of light, unexpected compositions and chosen subject-matter arguably allude not only to his Australian heritage but to his international experiences and unique perspective. Having spent significant time working and painting in the UK, including at the Rodd, Presteigne in Wales, currently run by The Sidney Nolan Trust, he was elected a Royal Academician in 1991 with the Diploma Work Self-portrait in Youth (1986), now held in the Royal Academy’s Collection.

Drawing on the experience of leading scholars, experts and art world professionals, this one-day symposium aims to offer a unique perspective on the life and work of Sidney Nolan RA, and consider the significance and impact of his work on artists and art practice today.

In the centenary year of Sidney Nolan’s birth, on the 22nd April – the date of his birthday – the symposium programme of debate and discussion aims to consider a number of critical themes. As an artist renowned in different countries and for working across continents, Nolan’s work and life allows us to revisit what it means to have multicultural, global perspectives and how these can contribute to the artist’s practice and oeuvre. In an era when art is all too often associated with readily recognisable styles, the work of Nolan provides a rich example of the artist as polymath, with expertise and innovation across different subjects and approaches. Also included are conversations around materiality and the artistic process, and the incorporation and experimentation of different media and methods; critically relevant for artists working today and in the future.

There will be an exclusive private tour of the exhibition Unseen: Works from the Sidney Nolan Trust Collection at Australia House, London, WC2B 4LA for event participants at 10:00am.

Speakers for the symposium include:

Rebecca Daniels
Trustee, Sidney Nolan Trust

Dr Rebecca Daniels studied art history at the University of Melbourne before completing her doctorate at the University of Oxford. She has lectured extensively in Australia and the UK, and is a Trustee of the Sidney Nolan Trust. Daniels was associate editor of Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné (2016) and has published on Henri Matisse and Walter Sickert. In 2017 Daniels curated Transferences: Sidney Nolan in Britain at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester; she edited and was a contributor to the accompanying publication of the same title.

Paula Dredge
Head of Paintings Conservation, Art Gallery of NSW

Paula Dredge is Head of Paintings Conservation at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. She undertakes conservation treatments on paintings and investigates the materials and techniques used by artists. In 2013 she was awarded her doctorate from the University of Melbourne, Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation (now the Grimwade Centre). Her thesis was an analytical and historical study of the household paints used by Sidney Nolan from 1939 to 1953. This study continues in the year of Nolan’s centenary, to encompass the following four decades of his practice through a research residency at Nolan’s studio: The Rodd.

Georgina Gold
Senior Director, Impressionist & Modern Art, Sotheby’s

Georgina Gold is Senior Director and co-Head of the Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale and the Impressionist & Modern Art Department at Sotheby’s since 2012. Previously, she was a Director of Agnew’s Gallery, London, the world’s oldest family-owned dealership, where she developed the international 20th-century Art and contemporary departments and strengthened Agnew’s presence in Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the Middle East. Formerly, she was a Director at Sotheby’s and Head of Australian Paintings, having joined Sotheby’s in 2002 as a specialist in Australian 19th and 20th-century art. From 2005 she took on additional responsibilities as an auctioneer for Sotheby’s Australia and Hong Kong. In August 2005, Georgina was selected as a specialist for the Antiques Roadshow. She has represented Sotheby’s at numerous charity events, serving as an auctioneer and raising money for high profile charitable causes, and has been invited to judge many leading Australian art prizes. Prior to joining Sotheby’s, Ms. Gold’s career in the Australian art world included managing Rex Irwin Art Dealer and working as a paintings expert at Lawsons Auctioneers. She has also worked in the UK for Phillips Fine Art Auctioneers in London, where she focused on 20th-century British paintings.

David Lipsey
Chairman, Sidney Nolan Trust

David Lipsey chairs the Sidney Nolan Trust. David has been a Labour peer since 1999, dabbling in everything from greyhound racing to music education. He currently chairs the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. He is a trustee of the Mid Wales Music Trust and of Hay Music. Before joining the Lords, David had a career in journalism, holding positions such as the Deputy Editor of the Times and Political Editor of the Economist. Before that he was Special Adviser to Anthony Crosland, then-Foreign Secretary, and James Callaghan, former Prime minister.

Susan M Moore FBAPCR, B.Sc.
Senior Paintings Conservator, Plowden and Smith

Born and educated in Scotland, Susan had already gained a bachelor’s degree in Botany before she came to London in the 1980s to study painting conservation and restoration at the Courtauld Institute. Susan is accredited by the British Association of Paintings Conservators – Restorators (BAPCR) in the conservation and restoration of easel paintings, and was made a Fellow in 1997. She has extensive knowledge of 20th-century British art, and worked on many exhibitions for Agnew’s Gallery, including the seminal 1997 Sidney Nolan exhibition, Nolan’s Nolans. Currently Susan holds the position of Senior Painting Conservator at Plowden and Smith Ltd, a position which allows her to indulge her love of travel. Earlier this year Susan travelled to Qatar to work on the major retrospective of Dia Azzawi. Susan has sat on various committees, including for the BAPCR and Icon, helping to develop their lecture programmes, and relaunching the Conservation Register, which is still the only UK directory of accredited conservators. An experienced lecturer, Susan has given talks at Sotheby’s Institute and Christies Educational, as well as NADFAS groups.

Tania Moore
Curatorial Assistant, Royal Academy Collections

Tania Moore is Collections Curatorial Assistant at the Royal Academy of Arts where she contributes to research about the collection and supports the preparation of new collection displays for the Academy’s 250th anniversary in 2018. Her specialism is modern British art, with a focus on sculpture. In her previous role at the Henry Moore Foundation she carried out the research for the exhibition Becoming Henry Moore and contributed to a catalogue essay. She was previously Assistant Gallery Manager at Pangolin London, a commercial gallery specialising in modern British and contemporary sculpture, where she curated exhibitions and organised the display of public sculpture.

Simon Mundy
Chairman, Creative Guild

Simon Mundy is a poet, novelist and biographer, having published 16 books so far. He was also an arts journalist and broadcaster for many years, and in the 1990s he was Director of the National Campaign for the Arts. He has directed festivals in Scotland and The Netherlands. He is an Adviser to UNESCO and the Council of Europe on issues of cultural policy and conflict alleviation, as well as being a Trustee of the Sidney Nolan Trust. As a poet he often collaborates with dancers, composers and visual artists. His mother was the abstract painter, June Hainault.

Simon Pierse
Senior Lecturer Emeritus, Aberystwyth University

Simon Pierse is Senior Lecturer Emeritus at Aberystwyth University. He was born in south-east London and first came across the work of Sidney Nolan in the early 1970s when, as a school boy, he was shown colour reproductions in a book by his art teacher. Pierse then went on to study painting at the Slade School of Fine Art, and art history at Essex University. He lectured in art and art history at the School of Art, Aberystwyth for 24 years before his retirement. Pierse has published widely on Australian post-war painting and is the author of ustralian Art and Artists in London 1950-1965: an Antipodean Summer, published in 2012 by Ashgate and reissued in paperback by Routledge in 2016. His recent research focuses on British perceptions of Australian art and identity, and he is currently working on the life of Australian expatriate art dealer and curator Alannah Coleman. Simon Pierse is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of the Royal Watercolour Society.

Nicholas Lambourn
Head of Department, Topographical Pictures and Australian Art, Christie’s

Nicholas Lambourn is a Senior Director and Head of the Topographical Pictures and Australian Art departments at Christie’s. He joined the firm in 1981 and ran a first sale devoted to Australian art at Christie’s in London in the bicentennial year, 1988. The Australian sales in London continued until Christie’s re-opened its Australian saleroom in the early 1990s. His duties through the 1990s and early 2000s included sourcing Australian art, from colonial to contemporary, from collections in the UK and outside Australia for Christie’s Australian Art sales in Australia. He has travelled to Australia on Christie’s business at least twice a year for the last 25 years. He was responsible for the sale of Nolan’s Riverbend II for the Sidney Nolan Trust in London in November 1993, the first work by the artist to break the million dollar mark, and more recently for the private sale of the historic New South Wales drawings to the State Library of New South Wales.

Anita Taylor
Dean, Bath School of Art and Design

Professor Anita Taylor is a practising artist, exhibition organiser, published writer and Dean of Bath School of Art and Design. Anita studied Foundation in Art and Design at Mid-Cheshire College of Art (1980-81), BA (Hons) Fine Art: Painting (First Class) at Gloucestershire College of Art (1981-84) and MA Painting at the Royal College of Art, London (1985-87). She was Artist-in-Residence at Durham Cathedral (1987-88); Cheltenham Fellow in Painting (1988-89), and Artist-in-Residence at the National Art School Sydney with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (2004). She is currently an Adjunct Professor of the University of Sydney affiliated to Sydney College of the Arts. Anita is co-author of Drawing (Cassell Illustrated, 2003), and has contributed articles for publications that include The Guardian, Craft Arts International and Garageland, and has contributed to a number of key publications on drawing.

● Fully booked

● Cancelled

Saturday 22 April 2017

11am — 5pm

The Reynolds Room, Burlington House, Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly

£60, includes a private tour of the exhibition ‘Unseen: Works from the Sidney Nolan Trust Collection’ at Australia House, London, WC2B 4LA at 10am and a drinks reception at the end of the day.

Book now