Brett and Wendy Whiteley want a life of passion. Wendy abandons her own artistic ambition to second her husband. Brett believes that an artist can influence the world. After the total failure of a monumental work in mixed techniques against the war in Vietnam, the rest of his career marks his need to define his relationship with the world, exacerbated by his addiction to alcohol and drugs.
The art of Brett Whiteley is of a great variety. Wendy's body is the treasure of the closed universe of his studio in Sydney. The immensity of the sea symbolizes the magnitude of his ambition but is also a pretext to simulate the pathological passion of Gauguin in Oceania. The heron flying against the wind is autobiographical.
In 1979 Brett painted a series of two oil on canvas showing The Paddock at two different times of the day with bright colors inspired by Matisse. In Australia paddock is synonymous with grazing.
This landscape seen from above is limitless, with no perspective and no logical path. It was located in the inland 180 km from Sydney but the inconsistency of the shadows reveals that it comes mainly from the imagination of the artist.
The Paddock - Early Morning was sold for A$ 650K including premium by Deutscher-Menzies in September 2004. The Paddock - Late Afternoon was sold for A$ 1.56M including premium by Menzies on June 23, 2011. This 202 x 152 cm painting is estimated A$ 1.6M for sale by Menzies in Melbourne on August 10, lot 40.
Brett and Wendy divorced in 1989 but Wendy retrieved after the death of Brett the moral authority on his art. In 1992 she created a landscaped garden in Lavender Bay which she named Wendy's Secret Garden, conceived as a giant piece of art for which she learned horticulture. Considered retroactively, the Paddocks of 1979 were not a delirium but an achievable desire.
2019 AUCTION RESULT
Unsold in 2017, this painting was listed again by Menzies in March 2019, also lot 40. (I did not catch it before the sale).
It was sold for A$ 1.84M including premium.