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Norman Alfred 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 and bronze.

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.

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.

Read more of Norman Lindsay's story...

Norman Lindsay completed most of his sculptures between 1920 and 1940, but even through until the year before his death in 1969 he completed sculptural works. His sculptures were his relaxation and his first was completed in the gardens of Springwood, it was quickly followed by a satyr pursuing a nymph at the front of his Springwood home. As with many of his works Rose was his model for the nymph.
In the 1920's the Greek Sphinx and The Sirens which lured sailors to their deaths began to appear in Lindsay's sculpture. The first Sphinx was made in 1927 was small enough to decorate the radiator cap of Rose's 1926 Vauxhall. Later, in 1943, he would create a large version on the pathway leading to the swimming pool. The Siren first appeared in 1926 and then again in 1928. All but the last of Lindsay's sculptures were made by applying wet cement onto a metal frame. His final sculpture was from a full size plasticine model. There are also number of pots and urns crafted by Lindsay which found a home in his gardens.
Oil Paintings
During the 1930's and 1940's Lindsay decided he needed a 'a fresh approach to art' and began to focus on a series of large 'gallery' paintings. He had dabbled with oils as early as the start of the 1900's, His oil paintings included the large works based on history, mythology and literature, portraits and the smaller works where he focused on rich and contrasting colours.
Lindsay kept a book full of the names and contact details for models and kept most of them busy. But it was Rose in her early days and Rita later in his career that he considered his two most beautiful models. When he was unable to use live models he would refer to the pencil studies he had amassed over many years for the correct proportion and muscular definition. He was able to achieve more accurate skin tones with oils discovered it to be a medium in which his love of theatre and costume could be better expressed.
Model Ships
It is believed Lindsay made a total of fourteen model ships. He claimed his interest in ships dated back to his early years when his families maid gave him a fully rigged model ship. Lindsay saw his Model ships has a way to relax and enjoy time away from his studios.
After the First World War Lindsay began to experiment and develop his skills as a watercolorist. His association with artist Blamire Young provided him with a foundation from which to expand his skill, building up on the initial washes to become quite dramatic and detailed. His watercolours are often emotional and always captivating with the viewer's eye drawn to all parts of the paper which has been carefully constructed. Each of Lindsay's works inevitably tell the story of each of the many characters which are depicted. It is unknown exactly how many watercolours Lindsay produced, rather it is said he was 'prolific'.
Original Etchings
Lindsay had experimented with etchings as early as 1997, but it wasn't until 1919 that he discovered the medium in ernest. The success of Lindsay's etchings resulted from both his own skill and that of Rose who was widely recognised as a master printmaker. Together they published 200 etchings and at least 175 which were unpublished. The original etching editions had a maximum of 55 copies but a large number the plates failed before and the number produced was significantly less.

Facsimile Etchings

On 30 November 1974 Lin Bloomfield; founder of Bloomfield Galleries, in response to Lindsay's original etchings becoming increasing unattainable, and after consultation with Jane Lindsay, released the first three folios of the facsimile etchings.

Lin Bloomfield retains the copyright on all of Norman Lindsay's etchings and to produce the facsimile etchings. Editions are restricted to 550 and each is individually numbered. Authenticity is guaranteed by an embossed seal (see below) with a dot in the 6:00 o'clock position. All works have a Certificate of Authenticity and once an edition has sold out, the image is never again released.

All original printing materials used for the facsimile etchings are destroyed and the metal plates used in the printing process are been cancelled.

The facsimile etchings have retained and increased in both their popularity and value with many now commanding several thousand Australian Dollars.

www.NormanLindsay.net is able to offer a number facsimiles many of which are sold out editions. Purchase your facsimiles now by clicking on the above seal.

The Bulletin Newspaper

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. Lionel on the right, and Norman is on our home page . Norman's association with and contributions to the magazine would last over fifty years.

His vigorous illustrations include watercolors, lithographs, and etchings

Pencil Drawings

Lindsay's love of art began with pencil drawings. In his youth the scarcity of paper would see he and his brothers would search their home town for anything to draw on. He grew up keening studying the works of other artists, and was inspired by the works of Albrecht Durer and Urs Graf.

Lindsay would often prepare for his larger paintings and etchings by initially composing his works with a pencil drawing. Because of his skill and very often the elaborate and detailed nature of his studies many have become works of art and collectable in their own right.

Pen & Ink Drawings
Many of lindsay's drawings were completed during his employment with The Bulletin. While it provided him with an income his creativity was stifled by the strict editorial guidelines of the publication. Regardless of the fact that these works were cartoons his attention to the message and tonal detail was painstaking. He would complete his cartoons at his home in Springwood from editorial instructions. In his early years he corresponded with the newspaper by post and later by telephone. As the Bulletin began to fail on the back of it's historically strong and unpopular political views Lindsay 's association was terminated by the then editor in 1958.
In addition to his many works of art, Norman Lindsay was the author of eleven novels. These novels were, "Curate in Bohemia" 1913, "Redheap" 1930, " Miracles by Arrangement" 1932, " Saturdee" 1932, "Pan in the Parlour" 1933, "The Cautious Amorist" 1934, " Age of Consent" 1935, "Cousin from Fiji" 1945, "Halfway to Anywhere" 1947, "Dust or Polish" 1950, and "Rooms and Houses". There were also two children's books, the most famouse being "The Magic Pudding" 1918, and the second "The Flyaway Highway" 1936. Other books included an autobiography: My Mask 1970, and "Reminiscences: Bohemians of the Bulletin".