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Brett Whiteley : Art, Life and the Other Thing (Hardcover) (Ashleigh Wilson)
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‘That rarest of things, a 400-page biography that is hard to put down…[It] will make you weep.’—Australian
‘An intriguing, absorbing and assured account of Brett Whiteley's life and work.’—Mark Knopfler, of Dire Straits
‘Fast-paced, thrilling . . . An excellent biography.’—Books + Publishing
Born in Australia, Whiteley moved to Europe in 1960 determined to make an impression. Before long he was the youngest artist to have work acquired by the Tate. With his wife, Wendy, and daughter, Arkie, Whiteley then immersed himself in bohemian New York. Living at the Chelsea Hotel they befriended Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and the rock and roll royalty of the era.
But within two years he fled, having failed to break through. Back in Sydney, he became Australia’s most celebrated artist. Winning both the country’s most prestigious art prizes in the same year Whiteley’s prices soared, as did his fame. Yet addiction was taking its toll, and he struggled in vain to separate his talent from his disease.
Written with unprecedented behind-the-scenes access, this dazzling biography offers the full portrait of a mercurial artist. Handsomely illustrated with three colour plate sections including classic Whiteley artworks, rare notebook sketches and candid family photos.
Ashleigh Wilson has been a journalist for almost two decades. He received a Walkley Award for his reports on unethical behavior in the Aboriginal art industry, a series that led to a Senate inquiry. He has been The Australian’s Arts Editor since 2011. He lives in Sydney.