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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Brett Whiteley, 1974

Lewis Morley

type C photograph on paper (sheet: 27.9 cm x 35.5 cm, image: 20.5 cm x 30.8 cm)

Brett Whiteley AO (1939-1992), artist, displayed a brilliant talent for drawing as a Sydney schoolboy. After studying very casually at art schools he travelled to Europe on a scholarship. In London he excited art dealers and fell under the influence of painters such as Francis Bacon, of whom he later made a series of portraits. He won the international prize at the second Paris Biennale for Young Artists in 1961, and married his muse, Wendy Julius, the following year. Through the 1960s he exhibited around the world as well as in Australia before the family returned to live in Lavender Bay. He began the 1970s with gentle pictures of birds, moving on to massive portraits of the poets Verlaine and Rimbaud before taking two years to paint the 18-panel Alchemy (1972-3). He then turned to series of paintings of waves, interiors, the harbour, and coastal landscapes. The glamorous Whiteleys' marriage was fiery, and their separation added to the artist's problems with substances and self-doubt. He died, apparently by accident, in a motel in Thirroul, NSW.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2003
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
© Lewis Morley Archive LLC

Accession number: 2003.56

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Lewis Morley (age 49 in 1974)

Brett Whiteley (age 35 in 1974)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Donated by

Lewis Morley (49 portraits)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Patrick White at Centennial Park, 1979–1980
Patrick White at Centennial Park, 1979–1980
Patrick White at Centennial Park, 1979–1980
Patrick White at Centennial Park, 1979–1980

Listomania

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2013

Sarah Engledow describes the fall-out once Brett Whiteley stuck Patrick White’s list of his loves and hates onto his great portrait of the writer.

Lewis Morley, 2003 Sage
Lewis Morley, 2003 Sage
Lewis Morley, 2003 Sage
Lewis Morley, 2003 Sage

Myself and Eye

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2003

Magda Keaney speaks with Lewis Morley about his photographic career and the major retrospective of his work on display at the NPG.

In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester, 1939 Albert Tucker
In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester, 1939 Albert Tucker
In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester, 1939 Albert Tucker
In the mirror: self portrait with Joy Hester, 1939 Albert Tucker

Depth of Field

Portrait Photography from the Collection

Previous exhibition, 2004

Over the last five years the National Portrait Gallery has developed a collection of portrait photographs that reflects both the strength and diversity of Australian achievement as well as the talents of our photographers.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.