Modified on November 18, 2020 before another sale
An artist since his childhood, Brett Whiteley seeks an unconventional relationship with society. In the studio, he watches like through distorting spectacles the naked body of Wendy, his wife and muse. Outside, the city is both appealing and dangerous.
In 1969 the young couple decides to live in Fiji. Facing the ocean, the artist imagines the solutions tried by Gauguin in Tahiti. He looks at the birds : they are carefree. After a few months Brett and Wendy are expelled from Fiji for drug possession.
Brett has success, including many exhibitions in Australia. He however viscerally remains a dissident. In 1988 he is appealed by the theme of Japan where he has never traveled. He now needs bright colors that only the ocean and the birds may deserve.
The Sunrise, Japanese, Good morning! is a synthesis of these themes. The naturalism of the bird is in contrast with the usual stylization by the artist.
This oil and collage on board with electric light, 244 x 205 cm, was twice sold by Menzies : for A $ 1.32M including premium on June 20, 2012, and for A $ 1.68M including premium on September, 21, 2016, lot 36. It is estimated A $ 1.5M for sale by the same auction house in Sydney on November 19, lot 33. Please watch the video shared by Menzies in 2016.
A hummingbird accosting a frangipani, oil and tempera on canvas 211 x 400 cm painted in the same year, was sold for A $ 2.04M including premium by Sotheby's on August 28, 2006.
In the following year, a television documentary titled Difficult Pleasure is commenting his life marred by drug addiction. He divorces from Wendy, loses now all his fights against schizophrenia and alcohol and dies in 1992 of a heroin overdose in a hotel room, aged 53.
SOLD for AUD 1.75M including premium