Skip to main content

To help keep our visitors and staff safe, please book your spot before visiting.

Menu

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 - portrait 1

1975
Greg Weight

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 50.4 cm x 40.4 cm, image: 45.2 cm x 30.8 cm)

Brett Whiteley AO (1939–1992), artist, displayed a brilliant talent for drawing as a Sydney schoolboy. After studying desultorily at art school he travelled to Europe on ascholarship. 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 lovely 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 on Sydney Harbour. 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 gigantic Alchemy 1972–73. He then turned to series of paintings of waves, interiors, the harbour, and coastal landscapes. In 1976 he became the first artist to win the Archibald and Sulman prizes in the same year; having won only the Wynne in 1977, in 1978 he became the first artist to win the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes in the same year. He painted Patrick White while the author was working on his autobiography, Flaws in the Glass in 1979–80; thus two great portraits of White, painted and written, developed together. The glamorous Whiteleys’ marriage was fiery, and their inevitable separation added to the artist’s problems with substances and self-doubt. He died following an overdose of heroin in a motel in Thirroul, NSW in the winter of 1992.

Greg Weight (b. 1946) a Sydney- based photographer, opened his own studio in 1968, taking advertising and magazine photographs and working with the Australian Opera and the Australian Ballet. In 1970 he was invited to work in the consciously creative Yellow House with Martin Sharp, Brett Whiteley, George Gittoes and Peter Kingston, photographing its artists, installations and activities and there mounting his first exhibition, a series of photographs of the Cronulla sand dunes. Weight photographed Whiteley throughout the 1970s. He remembers the artist as ‘vital and engaging, definitely one of the most imaginative and energetic individuals I have known’.

Gift of Patrick Corrigan AM 2004. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
© Gregory Weight/Copyright Agency, 2021

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Greg Weight (age 29 in 1975)

Brett Whiteley (age 36 in 1975)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Donated by

Patrick Corrigan AM (123 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.

Greg Weight
Greg Weight
Greg Weight
Greg Weight

Greg Weight

'If you've ever been in love, you will know how to be a photographer'

Portrait story

Greg Weight on working with Jiawei Shen, and starting out as a photographer.

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.

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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 past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency