Simon Caterson reviews 'Brett Whiteley: Art, life and the other thing' by Ashleigh Wilson

Simon Caterson reviews 'Brett Whiteley: Art, life and the other thing' by Ashleigh Wilson

Brett Whiteley: Art, life and the other thing

by Ashleigh Wilson

Text Publishing, $49.99 hb, 464 pp, 9781925355239

Notwithstanding the fact that he died alone in a hotel room following a heroin overdose at the age of fifty-three, Brett Whiteley led what for an Australian artist in particular may be characterised as a fortunate life. As Ashleigh Wilson relates in this excellent biography, Whiteley retained the capacity to astonish, despite his misadventures.

A middle-class upbringing and education in Sydney and Bathurst provided him with a solid foundation. Crucially, Whiteley's natural talent was recognised and nurtured by his primary school art teacher, Miss Waugh. In his early adult years, Whiteley had the benefit of an indulgent employer who hired him as a commercial artist. He received major travelling awards and enjoyed the support of wise and eminent mentors and promoters in the international art world. One influential early admirer was the art critic Robert Hughes.

Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.

If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.

Simon Caterson

Simon Caterson

Simon Caterson is a Melbourne-based freelance writer and the author of Hoax Nation: Australian Fakes and Frauds from Plato to Norma Khouri (Arcade Publications, 2010).

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to comments@australianbookreview.com.au. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.