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Brett Whiteley

Kathie Sutherland's scrupulously researched and expertly written account of Brett Whiteley's formative decade, 1957-67, is essential reading for all who wish to better understand this charismatic artist and the development of his career. This beautifully designed and sumptuously illustrated volume, tempting to both eye and mind, is an exemplary tribute to this legendary Australian artist who died in 1992 after a creative life lived to the full. Sutherland's study focuses on the early abstract works produced in Sydney, and then extends to a comprehensive account of the phenomenal success that followed with Whiteley's transition to figuration after bursting onto the London art scene and creating his "Bathroom" and "Christie" series. She explains: 'I have written this book to show that Whiteley's early London opus, in particular, can stand alone as a testament to a prodigious talent and a unique artistic achievement. His professional success during this period was nothing short of meteoric. In less than two years - by March 1962 - this brash young artist could boast of representation in the Tate, Victoria and Albert museum and British contemporary art collections and, by 1964, in other national collections from Wellington to Washington'. The author has drawn on Whiteley's unpublished notebooks and all available sources to create a comprehensive catalogue raisonne of paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures created during these years. She makes a powerful case for the undeniable fact that for Whiteley, 'the catalyst for change and progression was expatriation'.
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