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Bearded Miner by Sir Sidney Nolan

Bearded Miner by Sir Sidney Nolan

© the Artist’s Estate. All Rights Reserved 2019/ Bridgeman Images.

Nolan experimented with printmaking early in his career in the 1940s before he had become a full-time artist, making simple but eloquent monotypes depicting buildings, people or plants. In 1952 After he moved to London in 1951, he had the opportunity to spend time in Paris where he worked at Atelier 17, the print studio run by S. W. Hayter who worked with many important artists including Kandinsky. Giacometti, Chagall and Miró. Here Nolan learned the techniques of etching and lithography. In the 1960s and 1970s he began to use screen printing which gave greater scope for the use of bold colour.

Bearded Minder is a reference to the backbone of Australian industry and prosperity. The miner's monumental head rises above the ground as a glowing fireball. The symbolic image articulates an ambivalent vision of human potential - a desire for progress wrestling with the power of nature, allowing both hope and fear.