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Norman Lindsay

In their own words

Recorded 1965

Norman Lindsay
Audio: 2 minutes

I’m sick of myself, I’m bored with the subject of myself. I’m only interested in general principles. I’m not interested in myself. One only gets from life what one brings to life and at my age, the age of 86, I bring very little to life, I’ve used it all up. I’m very interested in young people coming along. I’m not a bit interested in the past because I’m finished with it. But as the world is now divided on a knife blade of whether it will continue or whether it will cease suddenly to exist, I can’t see any possibility of future continuity unless the present generation really functions.

I consider that my generation functioned well. We produced poets like Hugh McCrae, Ken Slessor, later on Douglas Stewart, Fitzgerald, men who write major poetry. I’ve seen landscape painters like Elioth Gruner, who painted the purest light that ever has been seen on a bit of canvas; Hans Heysen, a water colourist who can be matched with the greatest; Streeton who taught the Australian how to see his own landscape. These men have done their work and gone.

The Australians do not know anything about their own art because it’s all locked up in private collections. Our galleries don’t buy it. Our galleries live under the illusion that art was made in Europe, that Australians haven’t got an art.

I’m content myself because I have spent a lot of time turning out works, and they’ve sold and I don’t know where they are, they’re somewhere. But they will in time appear along with the other works, and then the Australians will begin to wake up to the sudden discovery that they’ve got a national art.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Norman Lindsay is from the De Berg Collection in the National Library of Australia. For more information, or to hear full versions of the recordings, visit the National Library of Australia website.

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Norman Lindsay

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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