Brett Whiteley was born in the suburbs of Sydney. This artist virtually unlimited in theme, composition and technique has been inspired throughout his career by the beauty of the bay.
His nonconformism appealed the art critics : in 1976 and 1977 he received successively the three prestigious awards of the Art Gallery of New South Wales respectively specialized in portrait, genre and landscape. The consecration is even greater when he receives again the same prizes within a single year, in 1978.
In 1977 his Wynne Prize was awarded to a monumental diptych 208 x 456 cm titled The Jacaranda Tree (on Sydney Harbour). The composition skillfully juxtaposes the immensity of the bay and the details of the tree, accentuating the perspective over a dark blue background of Fauviste inspiration. This oil on canvas was sold for A $ 2M including premium by Christie's in 1999.
On August 28 in Sydney, Sotheby's Australia sells a 168 x 153 cm oil on canvas painted in 1978 on the same theme, titled Harbour (Grey day), lot 19 estimated A $ 2M. The gloomy weather softens the contrasts. The waterfront buildings and the bridge are relegated to the top of the image but are perfectly identifiable.
The artist wants to become the designer of the landscape, probably already pushed in this way by the desires of his wife Wendy. In the following year he painted The Paddock at two opposite times of the day. The early morning view was sold for A $ 650K including premium by Deutscher-Menzies in September 2004 and the late afternoon view for A $ 1.56M including premium by Menzies on June 23, 2011.
Brett Whiteley's passion for the views of the bay had a posthumous following : in 1992, immediately after the artist's death, Wendy began creating her landscaped garden on a derelict land in a Sydney suburb, at Lavender Bay.