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Collection

An image of The breakfast table by John Brack

John Brack

(Australia 1920 – 11 Feb 1999)

Title
The breakfast table
Other titles:
The Breakfast Table
Breakfast table
The Laid Table
Place of origin
MelbourneVictoriaAustralia
Year
1958
Media category
Painting
Materials used
oil on canvas
Dimensions

138.2 x 84.6 cm frame

Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r., dark green oil "John/ Brack 58".
Credit
Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation and the Australian Masterpiece Fund, including the following major donors: Geoff Ainsworth AM, Andrew & Cathy Cameron, Vicki & Paul Clitheroe AM, Rowena Danziger AM & Ken Coles AM, Chris & Judy Fullerton, Kiera Grant, Alexandra Joel & Philip Mason, John Sharpe & Claire Armstrong, The Lowy Foundation, Robyn Martin-Weber, Samantha Meers, Kerr & Judith Neilson, Mark & Louise Nelson, John Schaeffer AO & Bettina Dalton, Denyse Spice, Georgie Taylor, Max & Nola Tegal, Alenka Tindale, Eleonora & Michael Triguboff, Peter Weiss AO, Ray Wilson OAM, Women’s Art Group 2013
Accession number
193.2013
Copyright
© Helen Brack
Location
20th & 21st c Australian art
Further information

'The breakfast table' by John Brack depicts the traces of a family's morning meal before the cutlery and plates have been cleared away. It captures a simple moment of domesticity, breaking with the pictorial and thematic conventions of the still-life genre. The painting suggests the interactions and traits of the sitters invisible to us. Empty glasses, cups and mugs remain on the table surrounded by plates with scattered crumbs, bottles, knives and jars of fruit conserve.

Brack's palette is arresting: the illuminated, almost fluorescent yellow of the table top contrasts the deep shadows cast by the items on it. He has arranged the objects in an almost geometric pattern, so that objects sit in relation to one another and are intrinsic to the success of the overall composition.

Bibliography (22)

Sarah Adams., www.artshub.com.au, 'Record-breaking auction reaps $19m', Australia, 27 Jun 2013, n.pag.. viewed 27.06.2013, http://au.artshub.com/au/news-article/news/visual-arts/record-breaking-auction-reaps-19-dollarsm-195816

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

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

Nicole Chettle., www.abc.net.au, 'Grundy collection of Australian art sets auction record', Australia, 28 Jun 2013, n.pag.. viewed 27.06.2013, http://www.afr.com/p/national/arts_saleroom/grundy_art_auction_sets_record_9J3drW0Sr9lDPtU4qGcf6K

Hal Crawford (Editor in Chief), ninemsn.com.au, 'Art Gallery NSW snaps up Grundy works', Sydney, 01 Jul 2013, n.pag.. viewed 01.07.2013, http://news.ninemsn.com.au/entertainment/2013/07/01/14/46/art-gallery-nsw-snaps-up-grundy-works

John Cruthers, Important Australian art from the collection of Reg Grundy AC OBE and Joy Chambers-Grundy, 'Introduction', pg. 10-11, Sydney, 2013, 11, 152, 153 (colour illus.), 154. lot no. 45; estimated price $500,000-700,000.

Alexandra Djurichkovic., Australian art collector online, 'AGNSW reveals major new Australian acquisitions', Sydney, 03 Jul 2013, n.pag.. viewed 03.07.2013, http://www.artcollector.net.au/AGNSWrevealsnewAustralianacquisitions

Steve Dow., smh.com.au, 'Gasps as Art Gallery of NSW shells out millions on Brack', Sydney, 01 Jul 2013, n.pag. (colour illus.). viewed 01.07.2013, http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/art-and-design/gasps-as-art-gallery-of-nsw-shells-out-millions-on-brack-20130701-2p6r2.html

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

Kirsty Grant, John Brack, 'Human nature: the art of John Brack', pg. 87-136, Melbourne, 2009, 106.

Sasha Grishin AM, The art of John Brack - Volume 2, 'Oil paintings', pg. 2-40, Australia, 1990, 12, 106 (illus.). cat.no. 84

Terry Ingham., www.aasd.com.au, 'AGNSW makes big breakfast of Grundy', Armadale, 01 Jul 2013, n.pag. (colour illus.). viewed 02.07.2013, http://www.aasd.com.au/index.cfm/news/384-agnsw-makes-big-breakfast-of-grundy/

Robert Lindsay, John Brack: a retrospective exhibition, 'Biographical and exhibition notes', pg. 115-137, Melbourne, 1987, 120, 139. titled 'The Breakfast Table'; cat.no. 40

Lara Nicholls, In a new light: the art collection of Trinity College, The University of Melbourne, 'The beginnings of a collection', pg. 10-11, Parkville, 2001, 11.

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

Sotheby's Gallery Melbourne (Compilator), Sotheby's: fine Australian paintings, Woollahra, 1990, n.pag. (colour illus.). titled 'Breakfast table'; lot no. 123; estimated price $90,000/110,000

Sotheby's Gallery Melbourne (Compilator), Sotheby's: fine Australian paintings including Dr John L. Raven Collection of important colonial paintings, Melbourne, 1989, n.pag. (colour illus.). titled 'Breakfast table'; lot no. 470; estimated price $100,000/130,000

Katrina Strickland., www.afr.com, 'Grundy art auction sets $19.2m record', Melbourne, 27 Jun 2013, n.pag.. viewed 27.06.2013, http://www.afr.com/p/national/arts_saleroom/grundy_art_auction_sets_record_9J3drW0Sr9lDPtU4qGcf6K

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, Newtown, Dec 2013-Jan 2014, 30, 31 (colour illus.).

University of Melbourne (Compilator), University of Melbourne: catalogue of works of art, 'Oil paintings', pg. 1-37, Carlton, 1971, 3. titled 'The laid table'; cat.no. T27

Tammy Weller., www.artshub.com.au, 'Art Gallery of NSW acquires new Australian works', Australia, 02 Jul 2013, n.pag.. viewed 04.07.2013, http://au.artshub.com/au/news-article/news/arts/art-gallery-of-nsw-acquires-new-australian-works-195872

Exhibition history (4)

First anniversary exhibition (1958), Clune Galleries, Sydney, 13 Aug 1958–23 Aug 1958

John Brack: a retrospective exhibition (1987-1988), National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], Melbourne, 10 Dec 1987–31 Jan 1988

Fine Australian paintings including Dr John L. Raven collection of important colonial paintings, Sotheby's Gallery Melbourne, Armadale, 17 Apr 1989–17 Apr 1989

Fine Australian paintings, Sotheby's Gallery Melbourne, Armadale, 08 Apr 1990–08 Apr 1990