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The new house



John Brack


1920 - 11 Feb 1999


'The new house' by John Brack is a depiction of Australian culture during the Menzies era, where the home was viewed as the foundation of the Australian way of life. It portrays a conventional married couple - suburban homeowners - standing in front of their fireplace in a simply adorned interior. A reproduction of van Gogh's 'Langlois Bridge' (1888) hangs above the mantelpiece, while beneath it a small clock marks the time. The white apron worn by the woman, indicative of her domestic duties, suggests that lunch has just concluded.

'The new house' is strictly composed on a narrow vertical canvas with a precise arrangement of colour. It pervades a sense of flatness, embodied by Brack's smooth application of paint, emphasising the clean, sparse qualities of the room.


Other Title

The New House

Place where the work was made

Melbourne Victoria Australia



Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas on hardboard


142.5 x 71.2 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r. corner, black oil "John Brack 53".


Purchased with funds provided by the Gleeson O'Keefe Foundation 2013

Accession number


Artist information

John Brack

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 6 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 30 publications


Sarah Adams.,, 'Record-breaking auction reaps $19m', Australia, 27 Jun 2013, n.pag.. viewed 27.06.2013,

Michaela Boland, Weekend Australian, 'Master cards', pg. 9, Sydney, 07 Sep 2013, 9. indirect reference to the artwork

John Brack, John Brack retrospective: paintings and drawings, 1945-1977, 'Catalogue', Canberra, 1977, n.pag.. 6

Michael Brand, Look, 'From the Gallery director', pg. 11, Sydney, Sep 2013, 11.

Nicole Chettle.,, 'Grundy collection of Australian art sets auction record', Australia, 28 Jun 2013, n.pag.. viewed 27.06.2013,

Dewi Cooke.,, 'Grundy art collection tipped to sell for $20m', Melbourne, 13 Jun 2013, n.pag.. viewed June 05.07.2013,

Hal Crawford (Editor in Chief),, 'Art Gallery NSW snaps up Grundy works', Sydney, 01 Jul 2013, n.pag.. viewed 01.07.2013,

John Cruthers, Important Australian art from the collection of Reg Grundy AC OBE and Joy Chambers-Grundy, 'Introduction', pg. 10-11, Sydney, 2013, 11, 210, 211 (colour illus.), 212, back cover (colour illus.). lot no. 65; estimated price $1,100,000-$1,300,000.

Deutscher Fine Art (Melbourne) (Compilator), Australian art: colonial to contemporary 1780s to 1990s, 'Australian art: colonial to contemporary', pg. 3-96, Melbourne, 1995, cover (colour illus.), 75 (colour illus.). lot no. 101; titled 'The New House'

Alexandra Djurichkovic., Australian art collector online, 'AGNSW reveals major new Australian acquisitions', Sydney, 03 Jul 2013, n.pag.. viewed 03.07.2013,

Steve Dow,, 'Gallery's $3.85m painting splurge causes a few gasps', pg. 20, Sydney, 02 Jul 2013, 20 (colour illus.). photograph of work being installed

Steve Dow.,, 'Gasps as Art Gallery of NSW shells out millions on Brack', Sydney, 01 Jul 2013, n.pag. (colour illus.). viewed 01.07.2013,

Steve Dow.,, 'Sold! Grundy art collection takes in record $19m', Sydney, 26 Jun 2013, n.pag. (colour illus.). viewed 26.06.2013,

Steve Dow, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Grundy home carries on minus artful Brack bliss', pg. 21, Sydney, 28 Jun 2013, 21.

Kirsty Grant, John Brack, 'Human nature: the art of John Brack', pg. 87-136, Melbourne, 2009, 96, 121, 145, 147 (colour illus.), 148, 149, 211.

Sasha Grishin AM, The art of John Brack - Volume 2, 'Oil paintings', pg. 2-40, Australia, 1990, 4, 85 (illus.). 20

Sasha Grishin, The art of John Brack - Volume 1, 'The urban icons', pg. 37-54, Australia, 1990, 43.

Terry Ingham.,, 'AGNSW makes big breakfast of Grundy', Armadale, 01 Jul 2013, n.pag.. viewed 02.07.2013,

J.D., Port Phillip Gazette, 'The art galleries: Roman holiday', pg. 40-43, Melbourne, Autumn 1954, 42. titled 'The New House'; review of Peter Bray Gallery solo exhibition

Chris McAuliffe, Art and Australia (Vol. 35, No. 3), 'John Brack's forgotten people', pg. 365-373, Sydney, 1998, 365 (colour illus.), 368, 371.

Chris McAuliffe, Art and suburbia, 'The 1950s: the siren song of suburbia', pg. 64-75, Sydney, 1996, 23 (colour illus.), 70, 71. plate no. 7

Patrick McCaughey, John Brack: a retrospective exhibition, 'The complexity of John Brack', pg. 7-10, Melbourne, 1987, 13, 27 (illus.), 116, 138.

Alan McCulloch, The Herald, 'Art review: the little man in paint', pg. 10, Melbourne, 27 Oct 1953, 10. titled 'The New House'; review of Peter Bray Gallery solo exhibition

Jeni Porter (Editor in Chief), The Australian Financial Review, 'Art Gallery of NSW gets back in the Brack', Melbourne, 04 Jul 2013, 18 (colour illus.). photograph of work being installed; author unknown

Tim Sowden, Beasts of suburbia: reinterpreting cultures in Australian suburbs, 'Streets of discontent: artists and suburbia', pg. 76-93, Melbourne, 1994, 76, 77 (illus.), 78, 89,. titled 'The New House'

Katrina Strickland.,, 'Grundy art auction sets $19.2m record', Melbourne, 27 Jun 2013, n.pag.. viewed 27.06.2013,

Katrina Strickland, The Australian Financial Review, 'Public galleries go for Grundys', pg. 3, Melbourne, 29 Jun 2013-30 Jun 2013, 3.

Wayne Tunnicliffe, Look, 'John Brack: two superb new acquisitions', pg. 30-31, Sydney, Dec 2013-Jan 2014, 30 (colour illus.), 31.

Tammy Weller.,, 'Art Gallery of NSW acquires new Australian works', Australia, 02 Jul 2013, n.pag.. viewed 04.07.2013,

Editor Unknown (Editor), Bulletin, 'Artbursts', Sydney, 04 Nov 1953, n.pag.. titled 'The New House'; review of Peter Bray Gallery solo exhibition