Lindsay Brothers - Lionel and Norman

Exhibition dates: 30 July – 18 September 2003

Norman Lindsay was the finest black and white artist that the Australian art world produced in the 20th century.

For thousands of Australians Norman Lindsay brought to life the iconic adventures of the Kelly Gang in 14 exciting vignettes, displayed at the University Art Gallery.

As Joanna Mendelssohn pointed out in her entertaining lecture for the exhibition launch, Norman Lindsay’s sexy, idealised image of Ned predates the masked ‘helmet’ symbol of Kelly that Sidney Nolan is famous for creating a few years later.

But was Norman the best illustrator of his day?

Perhaps his older brother Lionel Lindsay would disagree, as his black and white work for several leading newspapers was just as well known in his time.

The exhibition counterpointed the art of Lionel and Norman, the best-known brothers from a remarkable family of ten children.

Norman’s romantic, nearly hallucinogenic fluid style could be contrasted with the crisp control of Lionel’s precise line work, exemplified in his wood engravings, etchings, and brilliant caricatures on display.

The University of Sydney holds over 85 artworks by the brothers. Lindsay Brothers – Lionel and Norman is the first time their works have hung at the University of Sydney side by side. Also included were Douglas Stewarts’ manuscripts of Ned Kelly and Fisher’s Ghost and his notebook for Birdsville Track.