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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.

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Self portrait, Paris

1989
Brett Whiteley

pencil on paper (sheet (irregular): 25.2 cm x 20.9 cm)

Two-time Archibald Prize winner Brett Whiteley AO displayed a brilliant talent for drawing as a child. After studying half-heartedly at art school, he travelled to Europe on a scholarship. In London he excited art dealers and fell under the influence of painters such as Francis Bacon. Whiteley remained in Europe for the next decade, exhibiting his work regularly in group exhibitions in London, Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin, and establishing an international reputation for his vivid, large-scale interiors and landscapes. While he worked across painting, printmaking and sculpture, he was essentially a draughtsman with drawing at the core of his practice. In particular, exaggeration, elongation, motion and distorted perspectives were strategies used throughout his oeuvre. Whiteley made many trips to Paris, and in 1989 he spent two months in an apartment on Rue de Tournon. This self portrait may date from this period, and showcases his incessant desire to draw, reducing himself to organic free-flowing lines and abstraction.

Gift of Patrick Corrigan AM 2010. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
© Wendy Whiteley

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

Brett Whiteley (age 50 in 1989)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

Donated by

Patrick Corrigan AM (130 portraits)

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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 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