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Norman Lindsay
1879 – 1969


 


Born
22 February 1879 was the fifth of ten children to Anglo-Irish surgeon Robert Charles William Alexander Lindsay and Jane Elizabeth Lindsay from Creswick.
Early Years

In 1895, Lindsay moved to Melbourne to work on a local magazine with his older brother Lionel.

His Melbourne experiences are described in Rooms and Houses.

In 1901, he and Lionel joined the staff of the Sydney Bulletin, a weekly newspaper, magazine and review.

His association there would last fifty years.

Married
Lindsay married Catherine (Kate) Agatha Parkinson, in Melbourne on 23 May 1900.
Their son Jack was born in Melbourne on 20 October 1900, followed by Raymond in 1903 and Philip in 1906.
They divorced in 1918.
Philip died in 1958 and Raymond in 1960.
In the Lindsay tradition, Jack became a prolific publisher, writer, translator and activist.
Second Marriage

Rose Soady began modelling for Lindsay in 1920.

She became his second wife, his most recognizable model, his business manager, and the printer for most of his etchings.

By the time he left for London in 1909, Rose supplanted his wife and joined him there in 1910.
Lindsay married Soady on 14 January 1920.

Their children, Jane and Helen (Honey), were born in 1920 and 1922 respectively.
Jane died in 1999.

Honey remained in the U.S. after visiting with her mother to cache her father's works at the beginning of World War II and Jane acquired the printmaking studio on the Faulconbridge property in 1949 and build a house around it.

Honey married twice, the first marriage was to Bruce Glad, the second to Richard Siau.

Jane later married Honey's first husband, Bruce Glad.

His Works

Lindsay wrote the children's classic The Magic Pudding published in 1918 and created a scandal when his novel Redheap (supposedly based on his hometown, Creswick) was banned due to censorship laws.

Lindsay also worked as an editorial cartoonist, notable for often illustrating the racist and right-wing political leanings that dominated The Bulletin at that time; the "Red Menace" and "Yellow Peril" were popular themes in his cartoons. These attitudes occasionally spilled over into his other work, and modern editions of The Magic Pudding often omit one couplet in which "you unmitigated Jew" is used as an insult.

Lindsay is widely regarded as one of Australia's greatest artists, producing a vast body of work in different media, including pen drawing, etching, watercolour, oil and sculptures in concrete and bronze.

A large body of his work is housed in his former home at Faulconbridge, New South Wales, now the Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum, and many works reside in private and corporate collections.

His art continues to climb in value today.

In 2002, a record price was attained for his oil painting Spring's Innocence, which sold to the National Gallery of Victoria for A$333,900.

His frank and sumptuous nudes were highly controversial.

Lindsay's creative output was vast, his energy enormous.

Several eyewitness accounts tell of his working practices in the 1920s.

He would wake early and produce a watercolour before breakfast, then by mid-morning he would be in his etching studio where he would work until late afternoon.

He would work on a concrete sculpture in the garden during the afternoon and in the evening write a new chapter for whatever novel he was working on at the time.

Destroyed

Soady took sixteen crates of paintings, drawings and etchings to the U.S. to protect them from the war.

Unfortunately, they were discovered when the train they were on caught fire and were impounded and subsequently burned as pornography by American officials.

Soady's older brother Lionel remembers Lindsay's reaction: "Don't worry, I'll do more."

Died 21 November 1969

 


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