Brett Whiteley Biography
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Brett Whiteley Biography
Biography on the Australian painter and printmaker Brett Whiteley
Born Brett Whiteley - Australia - 7th of April, 1939 / Died - Thirroul - 15th of June, 1992
Brett Whiteley is a famous Sydney painter, sculptor, draftsman, and printmaker. He is best known for his views of Sydney, semi-surreal landscapes, and the curving line that featured prominently in most of his works.
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Brett Whiteley Biography

  • Lived
    1939 - 1992 Australia
    Famous Works
    The Soup Kitchen 1958
    Untitled Red Painting 1960
    Alchemy 1972-73
    Self Portrait in the Studio 1976
    The Jacaranda Tree (on Sydney Harbour) 1977Photo by Jacqueline Mitelman
    Visible Influences
    Francis Bacon, Henri Matisse, Chinese Calligraphy.
    Movements & Styles
    Abstraction (early in his career)
    Surrealism (majority of his work)
    Known for his skill as a great draughtsman.
    Produced mostly nudes, landscapes, and abstract works (early in his career).
    Also produced still lives, portraits, cityscapes, and erotic works.


    Whiteley was born on the 7th of April in Sydney, Australia.
    Wins his first art competition, the Anual RSPCA exhibition held at Farmer's Blaxland Gallery. The work was titled "The Driver Sits in the Shade But What About the Horse?"
    Whiteley is sent to boarding school at Scots College, Bathurst.
    See's Australian painter Lloyd Rees's European paintings, exhibited at Macquarie Galleries, Sydney.
    Wins art award, Young Painters Section at the Bathurst Show in New South Wales. Whiteley leaves school and begins working at Lintas Advertising Agency, Sydney, in the layout and commercial art department.
    Whiteley's mother Beryl Whiteley leaves Australia for London.
    Meets his future wife, Wendy Julius from the National Art School East (Sydney) where Whiteley was also attending life drawing classes.
    Attends various sketch clubs occasionally.
    Converts a glasshouse at his family home into a painting studio.
    Occasionally attends life drawing classes at the Julian Ashton Art School.
    On weekends Whiteley paints landscapes around Bathurst, Sofala, Hillend and the South Coast of New South Wales.
    Does sketches in the Sydney Soup Kitchen and Night Refuge, frequented by the poor and homeless.
    Leaves Lintas Advertising Agency to begin painting works for an Italian scholarship.
    Wins the Italian Government Travelling Art Scholarship in November.
    Judged by Australian artist Sir Russell Drysdale at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
    The works exhibited were Sofala, Dixon Street, July, and Around Bathurst.
    Whiteley arrives in Naples Italy on the 25th February.
    Spends March through to May in Rome and Florence. Stays in an apartment in Rome near the Spanish Steps with Beryl Whiteley (mother).
    Briefly visits Paris and London. Is selected to be in a group exhibition at the McRoberts and Tunnard Gallery in London after taking his portfolio around the galleries.
    Meets up with Wendy in Paris on the 14th of June. After spending two weeks in Paris they return to his Florence Studio.
    Exhibits work in the group exhibition at the McRoberts and Tunnard Gallery, London from the 20th July to the 1st of September. Sells three gouache paintings.
    Travels around Italy to such places as Siena and Arezzo. Spend much time in the Uffizi Gallery absorbing work by artists from the 14th and 15th centuries (Cimabue, Duccio, and Piero della Francesca).
    Travels to Venice in August with Australian artist Michael Johnson to view the Biennale and visits Morandi in Grizzana.


  • 1961
    Is awarded a grant under the Dyason Bequest from The Art Gallery of NSW. This grant allowed Whiteley to stay in London.
    Works in Paris from September to October after being awarded the Arts Advisory Board Scholarship.
    Awarded International Prix at the 2nd Bienalle, Paris.
    Represents the Australian National Committee in June at the International Association of Plastic Arts, organized by UNESCO at the Meeting of Young Painters.
    Three works selected for the "Survey of Recent Australian Painting" exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London. Paintings include, "Untitled Red Painting (1960)", "Untitled White Painting (1960)", and "Untitled Dark Painting (1961)".
    Meets the British artist Francis Bacon.
    Exhibits at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
    Exhibits at the Berlin World Fair in the Stuyvesant Collection, and travels to Baden-Baden, Stuttgart and to Venice for the Biennale.
    Brett Whiteley marries Wendy Julius on the 27th of March at the Registry Office in Chelsea, London.
    The newly married Whiteleys spend 5 months in the south of France in old farm houses at Sigean, then travelling onto Spain and Germany.
    Travels to the United States, visiting New York, Connecticut, and Washington.
    Whiteley meets the artists Willem deKooning.
    Returns to London in November and moves into an apartment.
    1963brett whiteley photograph
    Work on the large work "Summer at Sigean" for 6 months.
    Starts work on the Bathroom series of paintings and drawings.
    Work selected for the "Australian Painting" exhibition at the Tate Gallery in London. Painting were also hung in the "British Paintings in the 1960s" exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, that also toured Great Britain and Switzerland.
    Clem Whiteley, the artist's father dies on May 3, aged 55.
    Awarded International Drawing Prize for "Bather and Heater (1964)", International der Zeichnung, Darmstadt, Germany.
    Awarded travelling grant from The Stuyvesant Foundation.
    Awarded the Perth Festival Art Prize, Australia.
    Exhibits at the Whitechapel Gallery, London in "The New Generation 1964" exhibition.
    Travels to Deya, Majorca.
    Arkie Whiteley is born at StGeorge's Hospital in London on the 6th of November.
    Exhibited in De Hendendaagse Schilderkunst in Austalia, France, Belgium, Germany, and Italy.
    Exhibits in the "Treasures from the Commonwealth" Commonwealth Festival exhibition, Burlington House, London.
    Spends time in Deya, Majorca from June to July.
    Exhibits work in "The English Eye" exhibition at the Marlborough-Gerson Gallery in New York.
    Awarded the T.E. Wardle Invitation Art Prize, Perth, Australia.
    Returns to Australia in December and spens time at Whale Beach, north of Sydney.
    Exhibits in an exhibition with British artist David Hockney and Australian artist Arthur Boyd.
    Exhibited at Clune Galleries, Sydney with "The Zoo Graphics" series of works.
    Included in an exhibition of the Mertz Collection "The Australian Painters 1964-1966" at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC, USA.
    Exhibits in "British Graphics" Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam.
    Exhibits in a group show at Marlborough New London Gallery, London.
    Exhibits in a group show at Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels.
    Exhibits at Pittsburgh International Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, USA and is awarded the Harkness Foundation Scholarship.
    Spends May to June travelling throughout Majorca, Tangier, and Madrid.
    Moves into a penthouse apartment at the Chelsea Hotel, New York.
    Exhibits in a group exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery, London.
    Leaves New York in July for Fiji and lives in Navutuleva for 5 months.
    Fined for possession of drugs in Suva.
    Returns to Australia and moves into a home in Lavendar Bay, Sydney.
    Becomes involved with The Yellow House artist's community in Potts Point, Sydney.
    Exhibits in a group show "The Bonsai Show", Australian Galleries, Melbourne.
    Rents the Gasworks studio in Waverton, Sydney.
    Begins work on the large "Alchemy" painting in February.
    Exhibits n the "Australian Painters and Tapestries of the Past 20 Years" New South Wales House, London.
    Completes "Alchemy" in January and exhibits it at Bonython Gallery, Sydney.
    Travels to Mauritius and Kenya in June.
    "..moved from alcohol to more serious mind altering chemicals" (Whiteley quoted from an interview with Phillip Adams.
    Awarded the Sir William Anglis Memorial Prize, Melbourne.
    Included in the "Australian Painting" exhibition, China.
    Moves from the Gasworks studio in Waverton to a downstairs studio in his Lavender Bay House.
    Awarded the Archibald Prize for "Self Portrait in the Studio".
    Awarded the Sulman Prize for "Interior with Time Past".
    Awarded the Wynne Prize for "The Jacaranda Tree".
    Spends march and april in London.
    Stays with Australian artist Joel Elenberg at Arthur Boyd's Italian house, Casa Paletaio, in Pisa during August.
    Travels to Venice, Florence, and Rome.
    Awarded the Wynne Prize for "Summer at Carcoar"
    Awarded the Sulman Prize for "Yellow Nude"
    Awarded the Archibald Prize for "Art, Life and the Other Thing"
    Travels to Bali and New Caledonia.
    Exhibits 4 works at the Cologne International Art Fair.
    Joel Elenberg shares Whiteley's Lavendar bay studio with him.
    Spends june to september in Bali with Joel Elenberg and his family. Elenberg dies.
    Moves in to studio at Reiby Place, Circular Quay, Sydney.
    Spends November in Vanuatu.
    Travels to Spain, Germany, and France.
    Travels to Central Australia with Michael Driscoll and works on the publication Native Rose
    Brett is awarded the Wynne Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales with "South Coast After the Rain"
    Purchases an old Tshirt factory in Surry Hills, Sydney and converts it into a studio. (The Brett Whiteley Museum is now currently situated here)
    Arrives in India to meet Wendy at Bombay, then returns with to Australia.
    Travels to London
    Brett and Wendy Whiteley are divorced.
    Spends from May to August in London and Morocco.
    Stays in an apartment on Rue de Tournon, Paris and works on a series of drawings.
    Travels to Bali, Tokyo, and Kyoto with girlfriend Janice Spencer.
    Awarded the Order of Australia in the Genral Devision.
    Brett Whiteley Dies in a hotel room in Thirroul, New South Wales. June 15.
    After a long struggle with the drug heroin, Whiteley loses his battle with it and overdoses, alone in a hotel.

Pages related to the Brett Whiteley life include: Francis Bacon Biography, Vincent van Gogh Biography, Color Quotes, and Famous Australian Artists.


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