EXHIBITIONS    We who love: The Nolan slates

Heide Museum of Modern Art

03.02.17 to 02.04.17

IMAGE CAPTION: Sidney Nolan (Lovers and flowers) January 1942, 25.5 x 50.8 cm. Collection of The University of Queensland. Purchased with the assistance of the Alumni Association and the Peter Stuyvesant Cultural Foundation 1997. © The University of Queensland.

Curators: Chris McAuliffe (Guest curator) Kendrah Morgan (Project curator)


We who love: The Nolan slates is a window into the world of renowned Australian painter Sidney Nolan (1917–1992), reflecting a time of artistic experimentation and personal upheaval. From December 1941 to June 1942, Nolan made around 32 paintings on roofing slates. They reveal his distinctive preference for non-art materials, his avant-garde aspirations and his literary interests. Through the paintings, Nolan recorded the end of his marriage, new relationships with patrons John and Sunday Reed, and fears arising from the war in the Pacific. Concerned that there might not be ‘many more tomorrows’, Nolan painted the slates as a remarkable, even desperate, avowal of emotional and creative freedom.


Nolan’s deeply personal paintings on slate have been exhibited as a group just twice since 1943. We who love presents the most comprehensive display of the series ever assembled. Executed in rapid succession, the slates are a painted journal, declaring exultant love and lingering sorrow. Their rich, metaphorical imagery invites viewers into Nolan’s life at a pivotal moment in his development.


This exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Warwick Reeder (1950-2016), Director of Heide Museum of Modern Art from 1996 to 2003.


A touring exhibition from The University of Queensland Art Museum​


Gallery Details

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