Norman Lindsay’s Art

Norman is widely regarded as one of Australia’s greatest artists. He produced a vast body of work in various media, including watercolour, oils, etching and sculpture. Much of his artwork contained voluptuous nudes and racy themes and caused many raised eyebrows and sometimes bitter criticism. He was also a noted author.

Born in 1879, Norman was the fifth Lindsay child. During his earliest years he suffered from a medical condition which kept him indoors, his sister Mary helping him to learn to read. He taught himself to draw by copying illustrations from periodicals and other material about him. At the Creswick Grammar School Norman illustrated and edited the unofficial school paper The Boomerang, as did his bothers when they attended.

He left Creswick aged 16, joined his brother Lionel in Melbourne and worked as an illustrator for periodicals. The 1890s and 1900s were the heyday for illustrated periodicals in Australia and they were both able to earn a living while continuing to draw, paint and exhibit their art.

In 1900, a friend’s sister Katie Parkinson, with whom Norman was having a secret love affair, became pregnant (with son Jack), so they married. In 1901 Norman visited Sydney and joined the Bulletin as a staff artist providing cartoons, decorations and illustrations for jokes and stories. He contributed to the Bulletin for over fifty years and more than any other artist he gave visual definition to the Bulletin’s editorial policy.

In 1902 Norman met model Rose Soady and began an affair with her. His wife Katie had another son Ray in 1903 and a third son Phillip in 1906. Katie and their sons moved to live in Brisbane in 1909 when Norman went to London with his sister Ruby and her husband Will Dyson. Rose joined Norman in England and travelled in Europe with him. They returned to Sydney in late 1910 and moved to their home Springwood in the Blue Mountains in 1912. They had two children, Janet born 1920 and Helen born 1922.

Rose became his manager and the printer of all his etchings. Around 1916-17 Lionel had encouraged Norman to do etchings, and the well-known etching Lady and Parrot was begun during a visit by Lionel. Their brother Reg was killed on the Somme in 1917, and Norman, like the rest of the family, was deeply affected. In the following few years he divorced Katie, Rose lost a baby and his sister Ruby died. Norman turned to spiritualism and reappraised his ideas on art and life; however, this caused some problems with his siblings who did not see eye-to-eye for various reasons.

Norman was both a prolific artist and writer. Norman died at Springwood in 1969

Museum Australia (Vic) Archival Survival Volunteer Museum 2014
Place of Deposit, Public Records Office of Victoria
FacebookTripAdvisorGoogle Map

Museum Accreditation Program - Accredited Museum   State Government Victoria   Bendigo Bank   Creswick of the Lindsays Hepburn Shire Council

Sitemap | 2007 - 2024 © Creswick Museum | - All Rights Reserved | Design by UBC Web DesignUBC Web Design logo