Sir Kenneth Clark: Deus Ex Machina of Australian Art

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Baron Clark of Saltwood is generally accredited with bringing the work of Sidney Nolan before the British public and helping to establish his career in London. In his autobiography, Clark describes his surprise ‘discovery’ of the work of Nolan but makes no mention of the role that Professor Joseph Burke played in directing his attention towards the work of Nolan and Drysdale even before his first visit to Australia in 1949. Clark was impressed by the ‘queerness’ of Australian landscape art, although Drysdale’s paintings, influenced by the work of Sutherland and Moore, reflected recent trends in British art and Clark’s own artistic tastes. To Clark, Nolan’s landscapes seemed to offer a new future for contemporary landscape painting and coincided with ideas contained in Landscape into Art, part-written on the voyage to Australia. Nolan was influenced by Landscape into Art and reading it helped him respond in a new way to the central Australian landscape in an innovative series of paintings, produced shortly before his departure for England in 1950.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-119
Number of pages16
JournalMelbourne Art Journal
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010


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