Norman Lindsay (1879-1969)
Beach Girls n.d.
45.1 x 29.6 cm
Gift of Howard Hinton 1940
Born 1879, Creswick, Victoria. Died 1969, Springwood, NSW.
Norman Alfred Williams Lindsay was both famous and infamous in his day. He was principal cartoonist for the Bulletin magazine, designed posters for the war effort, wrote and illustrated books and fought many controversies, particularly defending his right to paint the nude. He engaged in a life-long fight against hypocrisy and moralists, introducing Australia to a fanciful world inhabited by nude nymphs and satyrs. He worked prodigiously, producing a large number of pen drawings, etchings watercolours and oil paintings.
He left home at the age of 16 to live with his brother Lionel in Melbourne. In 1901 he moved permanently to the Blue Mountains in NSW. As early as 1904 his work was deemed blasphemous. In 1930 his novel was banned and the following year the police proceeded against an issue of Art In Australia that showcased his art. There were many critics of Lindsay’s work but he remained popular with collectors.
Howard Hinton was a close friend and avid collector of Norman’s work and there are 35 examples in the Hinton Collection, as well as others in the national and state collections. In the 1940s, one of the lecture rooms at the Armidale Teachers' College was hung solely with Norman Lindsay artworks. Hinton particularly valued the fine lines in this delicate watercolour, 'Beach Girls'. Two female figures, one clothed in a floral robe and broad brimmed hat, the other nude and holding a small towel or shirt, stand on a sand hill with the sea in the background. The sunlight behind them casts a mauve shadow, and brings a fantastical golden atmosphere to the image.