Australian Galleries, Melbourne label attached verso (no.9451); The collection of Arkie Whiteley; The Estate of the late Christopher Kuhn, Canada
Brett Whiteley created this work in Paris in 1989. It was his second visit to the city and resulted in his celebrated Paris series of gouaches and drawings. Here is a quote from Whiteley relating to this period of his work;
“I first went to Paris at age 20, but was so obsessed with modernism and abstraction to paint it. Now with fresh eyes, I could respond figuratively and lyrically to the one ravishing subject – Paris and her cultural heroes. I love the stoniness and creaminess, that wonderful soiled magnolia feeling. Paris is so sensual, beautiful, flirtatious, mischievous, arrogant, orderly, civilised. They call Paris a whore because she seduces you on every corner, and every street I turned, I could see another picture.”
This work has a wonderful provenance having been in the collection of Whiteley’s daughter Arkie.
Estate of the artist, Sydney. Thence by descent; Frannie Hopkirk, New South Wales, the artist’s sister; Private collection, Sydney, acquired from the above in 1997; Deutscher and Hackett, Australian + International Fine Art and Aboriginal Art, Sydney, 30/11/2016, Lot No. 81; Private collection, Sydney
‘The purpose of drawing is to make freshness permanent to trigger astonishment.” Brett Whiteley ,1985
This serene work by Whiteley was created in the early 1980s. The tonality and layering of the inks demonstrate aptly the artist’s growing interest in calligraphic brush stroke techniques. Whiteley was fascinated with both eastern philosophies and painting techniques during this period of his oeuvre. Stylistically, Brett Whiteley’s Lake in Bali (Lake Kintamani) references traditional Chinese painting. In Chinese tradition mountains buzz with the energy of qi, draw rain clouds to the rice fields and provide shelter to the Immortals. Compositionally, this ‘one-corner’ picture gently leads the gaze away from the corner of the frame.
Brett Whiteley’s ceramics are among his rarest and most delicately lyrical works of art. Here the artist has hand-painted and glazed upon a ceramic dish fine sprigs of blossom, possibly peach or plum. The artist’s signature indigo blue sings against the minimal ceramic background and the circular, almost calligraphic composition is beautifully resolved.
Depicting the busy intersection of roads surrounding the iconic Parisian monument the Arc de Triomphe, this expressive drawing pulsates with energy. Whiteley has collaged the monument itself and surrounded it with bold and gestural strokes of swiftly applied charcoal. This picture predates and precedes the artist’s famous images created several years later following his return to Paris at the age of 50 which culminated in a highly popular exhibition held soon after at the AGNSW.
inscribe l.l (pen and ink) 'Louvre, Rembrandts [sic] "Bathsheba" / Paris 4/4/67; inscribed across lower edge (in pencil) 'background dark sepia'; 'incredible feeling of sadness as she / contemplates the contents of the letter'; stamped l.r (in black ink)