Sir Sidney Nolan was one of Australia's most celebrated painters and printmakers, best known for his paintings based on Australian folklore. Nolan was born in Carlton in Melbourne in 1917. He attended the Brighton Road State School and then Brighton Technical School, before leaving school aged 14. In 1934 he began to attend the art classes at the National Gallery School, and became one of the leading figures of the ‘Heide Circle’, which included contemporaries Albert Tucker, Joy Hester, Arthur Boyd and John Perceval. In 1940 he held his first solo exhibition in his Melbourne studio. Nolan served in the Australian army from 1942 to 1945, during which time he began to paint the local desolate desert landscapes in a more representational style. Apart from his landscapes, Nolan painted a wide range of personal interpretations of historical and legendary figures, including explorers Burke and Wills, Eliza Fraser, and most notably the bushranger Ned Kelly in the Australian Outback. Nolan travelled to Europe for the first time in 1950 and held the first of many solo exhibitions in London in 1951. He travelled extensively throughout Europe, America, Africa, Antarctica and Asia. A retrospective exhibition was held at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, in 1957 and in 1967 a major retrospective toured Australia. From the 1970s, Nolan visited Australia regularly. He was knighted for his services to art in 1981, and was awarded the Order of Merit in 1983. In 1987 the National Gallery of Victoria organised a comprehensive retrospective exhibition, which toured nationally. Nolan was extraordinarily productive throughout his career, producing more than 10,000 individual works. He died in London on November 28, 1992, aged 75.