Australian Art

NORMAN ALFRED WILLIAM LINDSAY

Norman Lindsay
Norman Lindsay

AKA: Norman Lindsay

Born: 1879 Creswick, Victoria

Died: 1969
  • Figurative
  • Painter
  • Print Maker
  • Sculptor
  • Water Colour
  • Known
The Crucified Venus (1912)
The Crucified Venus (1912)

A childhood malady forced inactivity, so he used the time to teach himself how to draw. In 1895, Lindsay moved to Melbourne to work on a local magazine with his older brother Lionel. In 1901, he and Lionel joined the staff of the Sydney Bulletin, a weekly newspaper, magazine and review. There they drew caricatures, cartoons and illustrations on demand - often in a style nearly indistinguishable from each other. Norman's association with and contributions to the magazine would last over fifty years.

Rose Soady began modeling for Norman in 1902. She would become his second wife, his most recognizeable model, his business manager, and the printer for most of his etchings. By the time he left for London in 1909, Rose had supplanted his wife and it was she who joined him there in 1910. An inveterate sketcher, he filled volumes with pencil drawings of the trip.
He returned to Melbourne the following year having had his 100 drawings for The Satyricon of Petronious Arbiter published in London in a limited edition. The book would be reprinted in a two volume set in 1922 (with about half the illustrations) and the drawings used again as the 100 plates in the 1927 The Complete Works of Gaius Petronious.

In 1912 he moved to Springwood in the Blue Mountain region of New South Wales. Except for a short hiatus in the late 30's, he would live there until he died. If you've seen the movie, Sirens, you've seen the actual house and grounds. It's now The Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum and is open to the public. Lindsay created cement statuary, carved and decorated the furniture, designed and built chairs and most of all he drew. One of his pen drawings, The Crucified Venus, actually did create the stir depicted in the film and was even removed from a Melbourne art show until the president of the Society of Artists threatened to remove ALL the paintings from the exhibit unless Lindsay's drawing was reinstated.
Lindsay had experimented with etchings as early as 1906, but it wasn't until 1919 that he perused the medium in ernest. He produced five plates for Leon Gellert's epic poem, The Isle of San. Several books with etchings as illustration followed: Creative Effort and Colombine (1920), Idyllia (1922),and the legendary Etchings of Norman Lindsay (1927) and A Homage to Sappho (1928).

The Suitors
The Suitors


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