The No.1 Artnewspaper reporting from Australia ....presents A Tribute to the Australian artist NORMAN LINDSAY (1879-1969) ...he shocked colonial sensibilities with his erotic works of art and novels. Dogged all his career by controversy Lindsay emerged to become one of the best loved artists in the country.  
Norman Lindsay, self-portrait 1929

Cooks Hill Galleries
On exhibition now at the 
COOKS HILL galleries

67 Bull Street, Newcastle NSW 2300 Australia
Gallery Director : Mark Widdup telephone 0249 263899 fax 0249 5529 open Friday, Saturday, Monday 11am-6pm Sunday 2pm-6pm or by Appointment


Elegant gallery in a charming 19th century building. Mark Widdup opened the Cooks Hill Galleries in 1975 shows Australian art of the highest calibre ranging from Conrad Martens through to contemporary masters such as Margaret Olley.

N. Lindsay, 'Self-Portrait' etching
Norman Lindsay, Self Portrait, 1929  Etching, engraving and stipple 35.4 x 30.4 Edition 55 
'Self Portrait' is the graphic depiction of an artist in torment. A hunched Norman, clutching his etching needle, is presented manacled between the male nude satyr and female nude. Around them are massed the creatures of his imagination : demons, satyrs, nudes and the ominous figure of the sword-wielding dwarf.

reproduced with the permission of Bloomfield  Galleries, Sydney Australia
click on the image to see a larger version

'Self Portrait' is the most revealing of all Norman's etchings and needling the plate was a lengthy process. In a letter to Hetherington Norman discussed the ease with which he wrote compared to the consummate difficulty in etching and specifically referred to 'Self Portrait'.

...I have tried both mediums, and can speak authoritatively on their time factors. I could write the major portion of a novel like Cousin From Fiji in the time it takes to produce an etching like 'Self Portrait'.
It was an etching that continued to preoccupy him years after it was published. In a letter to Mary, written in his old age, Norman wrote :
...'Self Portrait' was done during the period you stayed with us at Springwood. It reflects the state of my mind during those years, which I'll swear I kept well under cover from detection by others. You, who probably know me better than others, could affirm that, I think. Anyway, it is definitely autobiographical...
Norman had turend fifty in 1929 and the capacity to create had abandoned him. His distress during this phase (which lasted for several years) is portrayed in Self Portrait. It was this etching that brought the criticism of  Norman's work which had been steadily growing over the years to a head. In December 1930 'Art in Australia' had published a special Norman Lindsay number, a great honour for any artist. By June 1931, despite the Great Depression, five thousand copies had been sold at 3s 6d. After a member of the public lodged a complaint, however, the police raided the office of 'Art in Australia' and seized all the blocks and remaining copies. A summons was issued against Art in Australia Ltd  to answer charges of having been concerned in the issue of an obscene publication.
Self Portrait was the main reason for police action. Perhaps the good fathers of officialdom (who had never previously taken action when Art in Australia published female nudes) were unable to accept the explicit representation of the main male nude in the etching.
When the case finally came to court it was dismissed by the magistrate, but the whole affair left Norman with a permanent fear of police action. Thirteen days after the summons was dismissed, Norman and Rose left for America.

N.Lindsay, Self Portrait detail

Norman Lindsay, 'Self-Portrait', 1929 (detail) showing the artist subjugated by two lascivious figures of a beautiful nude woman and a satyr - figures that appear constantly throughout his work.
This and other graphic works by Lindsay are now on exhibition  at

Norman Lindsay's beautiful home in the Australian bush at Springwood, Blue Mountains NSW is run by the National Trust. It is open to the public and houses works by the artist.
Lindsay has many passionate fans in Australia and one woman has created a website devoted to the artist, worth a visit.

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