Below: Photograph of Brett Whiteley courtesy Greg Weight
Brett Whiteley remains one of Australia’s most acclaimed and prolific modern 20th century artists, nearly 20 years after his death.
Edmund Capon, the long serving Director of the Art Gallery of NSW said of Brett Whiteley: “He was an indefatigable figurative artist who enriched his subjects - landscapes, Lavender Bay, birds, trees, animals, autobiographical orgies - with an indelible human sensuality.”
Brett’s meteoric career began in 1959 when he won an Italian Travelling Scholarship at the age of 19; first living in Rome and then Florence in 1960 with his girlfriend Wendy Julius. In 1960 they moved together to London. During 1960-62 Brett exhibited his work in London, Paris, Germany, California, Amsterdam and Berlin.
In 1961 he was invited to hang three works for a show “Survey of Recent Australian Painting” at the Whitechapel Gallery in London. Whilst in Paris he was awarded the International Prix of the 2nd Biennale, Paris, des Jeunes Peintres et Sculpteurs.
Right throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s he received huge acclaim; he continued to travel throughout the USA and Asia exhibiting constantly, his output was prolific. In 1976 he won the coveted Archibald Prize and Sulman Prize in the same year. In 1978 he won the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes - the first artist to win all three major Australian art prizes in the one year.
Two of the reproductions “Lavender Bay in the rain” and “Grey Harbour” were painted during this extraordinary period.
In 1989 he painted his Paris series “Regard de Cote”, and from this series comes “15 Great Dog Pisses of Paris”. This series was originally exhibited in 1990 at the Art Gallery of NSW and subsequently after his death at the Australian Galleries.
In 1991 Brett was awarded an Order of Australia.
Brett Whiteley’s work is represented not only at The Brett Whiteley Studio but also in all the major public State and Territory Galleries in Australia including many regional galleries and private collections. His work is also held in many international galleries including the Tate Gallery, London and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.