Brett Whiteley was born in 1939 and studied at the Julian Ashton School in 1957-59. In 1960 an Italian scholarship took him to London where his great natural talent for drawing, his lack of inhibitions and taste for exotic influences made the 21 year old painter an exciting prospect for London dealers. His work was shown at the Whitechapel and Marlborough Galleries from 1961 and in that year he was selected to represent his country at the 'young Painters' Convention UNESCO, Paris. Even more crucial to Whiteley's future was his success in winning the International prize at the second 'Biennale de Paris' (International Biennale for Young Artists), which brought with it the excitement, glamour and disadvantages of world publicity.
In 1961 he returned to Australia where he held several exhibitions, also traveling to the USA several Asian countries. What he learned from his contacts with such countries as Cambodia, Vietnam and Japan is expressed in his drawings and paintings, and even more in sculptures such as 'Asia', a construction in fur, steel and acrylic in which a white Wallaby was depicted with its head stuck in a sewerage pipe. During 1979 he won a number of national prizes and settled at lavender Bay, Sydney.
Whiteley symbolised his irrational obsession with the colours blue and gold in much of his work. The whole pattern of Whiteley's life was written into his drawings and paintings with scintillating brilliance. Brett Whiteley died in 1992.
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