SIDNEY NOLAN DRIED CARCASS OF A COW SUSPENDED IN A TREE, QUEENSLAND

Sidney Nolan (1917–1992)
Dried Carcass of a Cow Suspended in a Tree, Queensland 1952 (2011 printing) Published by Words For Art, Melbourne,
Pictures Collection, National Library of Australia, nla.cat-vn5981894 Copyright Sidney Nolan Trust, UK

National Library of Australia

In 1952 the Courier Mail newspaper commissioned Sidney Nolan – the great modernist painter, best known for his Ned Kelly series – to document the drought-ravaged pastoral areas of north Queensland. The commission was remarkable for its foresight in linking a gifted artist with a story of national import. Nolan produced a collection of harrowing paintings, sketches and photographs, showing contorted and emaciated livestock carcasses. Although he was an avid photographer, the works in this 1952 series are the only ones he produced for sale and exhibition. They became indelible images of drought in Australia.

See this photograph, and the rest of the national collection, in Canberra.