Meet… Sidney Nolan, book review








Title: Meet … Sidney Nolan
by: Yvonne Mes
illustrated by: Sandra Eterovic
Publisher: Random House Australia

Sidney Nolan is one of Australia’s most admired and recognised visual artists. This is the story of how he developed his iconic Ned Kelly series of paintings, brought modernist art to Australia and took Australian art to an admiring international audience.

Sidney Nolan and Ned Kelly. There’s a connection between the two that may be unknown to some Australians. Fortunately, author Yvonne Mes, has highlighted their association and brought Sir Sidney Robert Nolan, OM. AC. (1917-1992) to life in her book, Meet … Sidney Nolan.

At first glance, the cover of the picture book is striking, calling you closer, inviting you to open the pages and look inside. When you do, you won’t be disappointed. Yvonne Mes retells the life of Sidney Nolan with gentle attention at first, reminding me of being called to sit in a group and wait in anticipation for important information. And it is important. It is the story of Sidney Nolan – one of Australia’s leading artists of the 20th century, his work being among the most diverse and prolific in all of modern art. As the story continues, Yvonne uses her words to paint the story of Sidney’s life in your mind, and it is action packed, urging you to turn the pages to find out more. It soon becomes apparent that Sidney Nolan’s life had many twists and turns. He was daring, brave, and a “rebel on the run”.

Yvonne’s story is also a story about persistence. Sidney was turned down with his paintings numerous times, but he never gave up. He “poured his feelings about war and violence onto the hardboard. He poured the adventures of his youth. He poured his modernist ideas. And he poured his secrets that would forever remain hidden behind the Ned Kelly’s mask”.

Illustrator, Sandra Eterovic, has created vibrant, stunning illustrations, and you can’t help but notice the style is somewhat similar to Sidney Nolan’s painting style which is rich in colour, and striking in composition. I applaud Sandra’s work. She honoured Sidney Nolan with her illustrations.

I highly recommend Meet … Sidney Nolan as a valuable resource for informing, educating and celebrating the life and wondrous achievements of one of Australia’s significant modern artists, Sidney Nolan, as well as introducing students to the concept of modernism in art.







Yvonne Mes referred to Sidney Nolan in the her story as, “he painted many magnificent stories”. I believe Yvonne wrote a magnificent story about Sidney Nolan. This is one of my books to treasure.

The Ned Kelly Series Gallery

Purchase a copy: Meet… Sidney Nolan by Yvonne Mes

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Title: Meet … Sidney Nolan
by: Yvonne Mes
illustrated by Sandra Eterovic

Publisher: Random House Australia Children’s

ISBN: 9780857985903
Category: children
pages: 36

Also by Yvonne Mes, illustrated by Giuseppe Poli



Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)

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