1960s

Images, left to right, top first: Brett in London c1961; Arkie 1965; Brett and Arkie in Tangier 1967; Wedding photo 1962; Brett, Wendy and Arkie in the Chelsea Hotel c1967; Brett Whiteley in Sigean c1962; Brett and Wendy Whiteley with Sir John and Lady Rothenstein at the Tate, 1963

1960

Arrived in February in Naples. Spent March to May in Rome and Florence. Had an apartment in Rome near the Spanish Steps with his mother, Beryl. Visited Australian sculptor Stephen Walker in Florence, recipient of the same Italian scholarship, and found a studio in the same building as Walker. Brief visits to Paris and London. While in London, took portfolio around galleries and was selected for a group show by McRoberts and Tunnard. On 14 June, met Wendy in Paris and after two weeks returned to Florence studio. 20 July to 1 September exhibited in group show at McRoberts and Tunnard Gallery, London, with Tadashi Sato, Douglas Swan and Philip Weichberger.

Three gouaches were sold for £18 and one was reserved at £9. Travelled throughout Italy, including Siena and Arezzo. Haunted the Uffizi Gallery immersed in work by artists of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, particularly Cimabue, Duccio and Piero della Francesca. In August spent three days in Venice to see the Biennale with Michael Johnson, visiting Morandi in Grizzana.

November

Moved to London – 129 Ladbroke Grove W11 – where Michael Johnson was already living. In December met British painters William Scott and Roger Hilton and other Australian artists then in London, including Arthur Boyd and John Passmore. Met Bryan Robertson director of Whitechapel Gallery. Included in Survey of recent Australian painting at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, from which Untitled red painting was purchased by the Tate Gallery.

1962

Solo exhibition 9 – 31 March, Paintings and gouaches, Matthieson Gallery, London.

Exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and travelled in Holland with Australian artist Lawrence Daws. Exhibited at the Berlin World Fair in the Stuyvesant Collection, then travelled to Baden-Baden, Stuttgart and to Venice for the Biennale.

27 March

Married Wendy Julius at Chelsea Registry Office, London.

April

Travelled until November through Europe with his father, Clem, visiting Rome, Paris, Barcelona and the Haute Pyrenees, where they stayed with American painter George Sheridan. Clem returned to Australia (the last time Whiteley saw his father).

With friend Wendy Paramour, the Whiteleys spent five months in the south of France in old farm houses at Sigean, from where they travelled to Spain and Germany.

October

Travelled to the United States, visiting New York, Connecticut and Washington. Met de Kooning. Returned to London in November and moved into 13 Pembridge Crescent.

1963

Spent six and a half months completing Summer at Sigean. Afterwards commenced the bathroom series. Work selected for Australian painting exhibition at the Tate Gallery, London, and British painting in the ’60s, which opened at the Whitechapel Gallery in London before touring Great Britain and Switzerland.

April

In France

3 May

Clem Whiteley died, aged 55.

Australian Group Show, Marlborough Gallery, London. Exhibited with Lawrence Daws, Jack Carrington Smith and Vaughan at The National Gallery of Rhodesia, Africa. 15 November to 22 December exhibited in the Dunn International, Fredericton, Canada, and Tate Galley, London. In December moved to Holman Hunt’s old studio at 18A Melbury Road, London.

1964

Awarded International Drawings Prize for Bather and heater (1964), International der Zeichnung, Darmstadt, Germany.

Awarded travel grant from the Stuyvesant Foundation. Awarded Perth Festival Art Prize, Australia. From March to May exhibited in The new generation 1964, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, with Woman in a bath 5 (1963-64), Bather and mirror (1964), Figure at the basin (1963) and Sketch for large mirror painting (1964). From May to June travelled to Deya, Majorca. Three works exhibited in Documenta III, Kassel, Germany: Bather and mirror (1964), Woman washing her face (1964) and Woman sitting on side of bath (1963).

6 November

Daughter Arkie born at St George’s Hospital, London.

1965

Exhibited in Australia, France, Belgium and Italy. Treasures from the Commonwealth, Commonwealth Festival Exhibition, Burlington House, London. From June to July travelled to Deya, Majorca. November to December exhibited Untitled dark painting (1963), and Christie and Hectorina McLennan (1964) in The English Eye, Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, New York. Exhibited in group show Marlborough Prints, at Marlborough New London Gallery, London. Awarded TE Wardle Invitation Art Prize, Perth, Australia.

November

Returned to Australia for the summer, staying at Whale Beach, north of Sydney.

1966

In February included in a group show with David Hockney and Arthur Boyd. Exhibited at Clune Galleries, Sydney, with The Zoo Graphics. From 10 March to 16 April exhibition of the Mertz Collection, The Australian Painters 1964 -1966 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC, USA. Woman in bath (1964), The boxing match (1965), Cheetah in Rillington Place (1964) and Head of Christie (1964). From 6 April to 22 May exhibited in British Graphics at Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Exhibited in group show Marlborough Graphics, Marlborough New London Gallery, London. Returned to London via Calcutta mid-year. Work selected for exhibition at Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels.

1967

Exhibited at Pittsburgh International Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, USA, and awarded Harkness Foundation Scholarship. May to June travelled in Majorca, Tangier and Madrid before sailing to New York in September. Moved into a penthouse apartment at the Chelsea Hotel. Australian Group Exhibition, Whitechapel Gallery, London.

1969

In July fled New York for Fiji and lived in a bure at Navutuleva, about 45 miles along the coast from Suva. Spent five months in Fiji. Group show at Cunard-Marlborough Gallery (on board the Queen Elizabeth II for its maiden voyage). Fined £F50 in Suva for possession of a drug.

November

Returned to Australia, moving to Lavender Bay, Sydney.