The terrible Ned Kelly dressed as a black robot is also protected against the modern world by his incredible helmet that leaves only the slot for the nasty gaze.
The first set of Ned Kelly paintings by Nolan in 1946 paves the way for the modern Australian art, protesting, unaligned and timeless. The artist creates an empathic connection with this crazy renegade, heir to the convicts, lonesome in his illusory struggle. A painting from this first series was sold for AUD 5.4 million including premium by Menzies on March 25, 2010.
Australia's historians can only disavow Ned Kelly but they honor in due course Burke and Wills, the two explorers who died in 1861 in the return travel from the first continental crossing from south to north.
Nearly a century had passed after Burke and Wills when Sidney Nolan long wandered in Queensland in search of the cultural roots of the Australian pioneers. On August 25 in Sydney, Sotheby's Australia sells The Emu hunt, enamel on board 91 x 121 cm painted in 1949, lot 48 estimated AUD 600K.
The frightened big bird is surrounded by a man and a woman, both holding shotguns. The improbable attitudes of all characters make it an epic poetry. The man is out of balance and ready to shoot, while the amazone in bourgeois dress on a galloping horse displays a nice smile without worrying about hunting.
The tree in the center of the composition is not only a reminder that Queensland is not a desert. It marks the separation between pioneers and bourgeois. The bird whose only fate is to be the victim of these two irreconcilable social environments is perhaps the artist himself.