William Lindsay (February 22, 1879 – November
21, 1969). Born in Creswick, Victoria. He was a prolific artist,
sculptor, writer, editorial cartoonist and scale modeler. Son
of surgeon Robert Charles William Alexander Lindsay and Jane
Elizabeth Lindsay. One of ten children, he was the brother of
Percy Lindsay (1870-1952), Lionel Lindsay (1874-1961), Ruby Lindsay
(1885-1919), and Daryl Lindsay (1889-1976).
He is widely regarded as one of Australia's greatest artists,
producing a vast body of work in different media, including
pen drawing, etching, watercolour, oil and sculptures in concrete
His sumptuous nudes were highly
controversial. In 1939, several were burned by irate wowsers
in the United States who discovered them when the train in which
they traveled caught fire.
A large body of his work is housed
in his former home at Faulconbridge, New South Wales, now the
Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum, and many works reside in
private and corporate collections. His art continues to climb
in value today. In 2002, a record price was attained by his
oil painting, Spring's Innocence, which sold to the National
Gallery of Victoria for $AU333,900.
Lindsay was associated
with a number of poets, such as Kenneth Slessor, Francis Webb
and Hugh McCrae, influencing them in part through a philosophical
system outlined in his book Creative Effort. He also illustrated
the cover for the seminal Henry Lawson book, While the Billy
Boils. Lindsay's son, Jack Lindsay, emigrated to England, where
he set up Fanfrolico Press, which issued works illustrated by
Lindsay wrote the children's classic
The Magic Pudding and created a scandal when his novel Redheap
(supposedly based on the town of his birth, Creswick) was banned
due to censorship laws. Many of his novels have a frankness and
vitality that matches his art.
Lindsay also worked as an editorial cartoonist,
notably for The Bulletin. Despite his enthusiasm for erotica,
he shared the racist and right-wing political leanings that
dominated The Bulletin at that time; the "Red Menace" and "Yellow
Peril" were popular themes in his cartoons. These views
occasionally spilled over into his other work, and modern editions
of The Magic Pudding often omit one couplet in which "you
unmitigated Jew" is used as an insult.
Lindsay's creative output was vast,
his energy enormous. Several eyewitness accounts tell of his
working practices in the 1920's. He would wake early and produce
a watercolour before breakfast, then by mid-morning he would
be in his etching studio where he would work until late afternoon.
He would work on a concrete sculpture in the garden during the
afternoon and in the evening write a new chapter for whatever
novel he was working on at the time. As a break, he would work
on a model ship some days.
Lindsay influenced more than a few artists, notably
the illustrators Roy Krenkel and Frank Frazetta; he was also
good friends with Ernest Moffitt.
more of Norman Lindsay's story...