C sharp minor quartet

Born Creswick, Victoria, Australia 1879, died Springwood, New South Wales 1969


Norman Lindsay was one of ten siblings, five of whom were gifted artists. He was a draftsman and etcher of exceptional skill, who created images populated by voluptuous nymphs and satyrs.

Throughout his career he sought to counteract what he saw as the prudish morality of Australian society and was particularly critical of the churches. This animosity was reciprocated, with conservative and Christian groups regularly outraged and dismissive of his work as pornographic. While critics praised his work for its technical virtuosity, his subject matter remained a point of contention.

Lindsay’s wife, model and muse, Rose, appears in many of his images, including C sharp minor quartet (1927). This piece is Lindsay's response to Ludwig van Beethoven’s composition of the same name which he felt was ‘One of the most unhappy works ever created… a tortured craving for release’.1

A widely read man, he wrote almost as prodigiously as he drew and is famous for penning the Australian classic The Magic Pudding (1918). He has been included in many major survey exhibitions and is represented at the National Gallery of Australia, all state, and many regional collections.


1 Melissa Harpley, Norman Lindsay: drawn to women: the complete published etchings. Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, 2006, p. 16.