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Sidney Nolan

(Untitled - Catani Arch, St Kilda), 1942



Catalogue number: 2

oil on hessian on board

37.50 x 45.50

signed and dated lower right


Boyd Family, London;
Private Collection, Melbourne;
Deutscher Menzies, 16 March 2005, lot 2 (as ‘St Kilda’); 
Private Collection, Canberra, since then


Probably Savill Galleries, Sydney (label verso, titled as Landscape with Coloured Buildings (St Kilda))

Literature & references:

The following text is an excerpt from David Rainey’s short essay on the work, available on the Sidney Nolan Trust website. Rainey co-curated the exhibition Ern Malley: the Hoax and Beyond at Heide Museum of Modern Art in 2007.
"Much frequented by Nolan throughout his life, Catani Arch is captured evocatively in this little known 1942 painting. Appropriately, given he knew Mary Boyd when he painted it and 36 years later she became his third wife, this work once graced the London home of the Boyd family. Nolan grew up in St Kilda - in his words a ‘kitsch heaven’. Luna Park and its Big Dipper, the Palais Theatre, the Pier, Catani Gardens, the Esplanade - all promised youthful excitement and mature nostalgia. He was 25 when he painted Catani Arch. For a year he had lived in a ménage à trois with John and Sunday Reed at Heide having finally accepted the reality that his marriage to Elizabeth Paterson was finished. What was more, Australia was at war, Japanese forces were advancing, he had been drafted into the army and stationed in the Mallee district of Western Victoria. The past was past, the present had its allure, but the future seemed bleak. The painting though, reflects little of this. Rather, drawing on that ‘rare lyrical talent’ recognised in Nolan even then by fellow painter Albert Tucker, the work suggests a genius of vision that would soon blossom in his Wimmera paintings. Painted on muslin covered board most likely prepared by Sunday Reed and taken to Nolan on a weekend visit, it displays ‘the radical flatness, high horizons, virtual absence of conventional linear perspective and bright primary colours’, recognised by Jane Clark in her 1987 Nolan retrospective Landscape and Legends as ‘interpreting the Australian landscape in an entirely new way.’"

View artwork in Exhibition

Exhibition Catalogue

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Since its establishment in 1984, the Charles Nodrum Gallery’s exhibition program embraces a diversity of media and styles - from painting, sculpture & works on paper to graphics and photography; from figurative, geometric, gestural, surrealist & social comment to installation & conceptually based work.