Brett Whiteley

Woman in a Bath II

1963

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Artist
Brett Whiteley 1939–1992
Medium
Oil paint, tempera and canvas on board
Dimensions
Support: 1829 x 1880 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1964
Reference
T00670

Not on display

Display caption

Brett Whiteley was born in Sydney, Australia where he attended the Julian Ashton Art School between 1957 and 1959. He was awarded a travelling scholarship in 1960 which took him to Italy and then onto London. During the early 1960s Whiteley achieved notable success and produced many of his finest works. His principal themes were landscape, still life, the nude, animals and birds. 'Woman in a Bath II' is one of a series of paintings on this subject painted in 1963. The model was Wendy Julius the artist's wife. Whiteley wrote: 'Any good work of art can be analysed to have somehow perfectly balanced the forces of abstraction, realism and expressionism'.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

Brett Whiteley born 1939 [- 1992]

T00670 Woman in a Bath 2 1963

Inscribed 'Whiteley' b.l. and '"WOMAN IN A BATH" II | 1963 | BRETT WHITELEY. | OIL TEMPERA & COLLAGE | 72" X 74" | HIGH WIDE' on back of support
Oil and tempera on board, with collage of canvas strips, 72 x 74 (183 x 188)
Purchased from the artist through the Marlborough New London Gallery (Knapping Fund) 1964
Exh: Brett Whiteley, Marlborough New London Gallery, London, April-May 1964 (3, repr.)
Lit: exh. catalogue The New Generation: 1964, Whitechapel Gallery, London, March-May 1964, pp.100, 104
Repr: Robert Hughes, The Art of Australia (Harmondsworth 1970), pl.f in colour (dated 1963-4)

Whiteley broke through into a more figurative style while staying at Sigean in the South of France in the summer of 1963, and began to make a series of works on the theme of women in bathrooms which occupied him for most of the rest of 1963 and the first part of the following year. Besides five large paintings called 'Woman in a Bath', there were also a few paintings, mostly smaller, with such titles as 'Woman washing her Face' and 'Woman, Basin and Heater', as well as a number of drawings. As he stated at the time in the catalogue of the New Generation: 1964 exhibition: 'All the paintings I have made in the last four years have been concerned one way and another with sex and the desire to record sensual behaviour.The earlier abstract pictures were deliberately out of focus and ambiguous, as though I thought that a feeling of reality could best be expressed metaphysically. The newer bathroom pictures are an effort to get closer to actuality and to emphasize the "separateness" of things.'

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.762-3, reproduced p.762