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Michael Shannon

The New World, c. 1960


Catalogue number: 24

oil on canvas

101.00 x 76.00

signed 'Shannon' l.l.; inscribed "'The New City' (erased) / 'The New World' (uncat) / Shannon" verso


Private Collection, Melbourne, till c. 1995;
Private Collection, Melbourne, till 2016

Literature & references:

Joelle Gergis, Sunburnt Country: A History and Future of Climate Change in Australia, MUP, 2018, p. 247:
“As of November 2017, 170 of the 197 parties to the convention, including Australia, had ratified the Paris Agreement in good faith. The federal government has agreed to reduce emissions by 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. Experts believe that our domestic emission targets and policies are more aligned to global warming of 3-4 degrees. Our 2030 targets would still leave us at the highest greenhouse gas emitter per person in the developed world.”


In Michael Shannon’s career, the 1950s saw the emergence of a strong body of urban landscapes. They presented the city from the ground and looking across or up, but following a visit to the United States in 1959 the perspective changes: work such as this one, or ‘Urban Panorama’ in the Art Gallery of Ballarat, or ‘The City No. 3’ in the Newcastle Art Gallery, might have been “seen” from a helicopter - at least from an aerial perspective. This is developed further with ‘The City’, 1961, in the Art Gallery of WA, which is almost map-like in its abstracted treatment. ‘The New World’ is slightly different in that it gives the impression of having been painted not from the air but from another nearby building. There were then no office towers of this height, or streets of this width, in Australia so, given the American monopoly of skyscrapers at that time, it is plausible to assume the work was inspired by his travels in the USA - a fact that may have led the artist to re-title the work from ‘The New City’ (erased) to the more symbolic ‘The New World’.

View artwork in Exhibition

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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.