Born in Sydney, Brett Whiteley studied at the Julian Ashton School from 1957-1959. An Italian scholarship in 1960 enabled him to travel to London where his great natural talent for drawing, his lack of inhibitions and taste for exotic influences, such as that of Francis Bacon, made the 21 year old painter an exiting prospect for London dealers. After returning to Australia in 1961, Whiteley spent some time travelling the USA and Asia. His drawings and paintings, and especially his sculptures reflect his interpretations of his experiences in Asia. During the 1970’s he won a number of national prizes including the Archibald Prize 1976, 1978 and the McCaughey Prize (1975, 1976, 1977. He settled at Lavender Bay, Sydney and produced sensuous images of Sydney Harbour. He remained a prolific and popular artist, his work showing little of the desperate struggle his life had become, marked by drug and alcohol abuse. In 1992 he died from a cocktail of self-administered substances, believed to be a tragic accident.