This painting is part of a series of nudes by John Brack that were first exhibited in Melbourne in 1957. Contrary to the traditions of Western art, this work presents the nude as sexless and alienated from the viewer. The impersonal nature of Brack’s nude is heightened by the stylisation of the figure, which reduces individual features to classically architectonic forms. Nonetheless, Brack views his subjects with sympathy, understanding and compassion.
When I paint a woman … I am not interest in how she looks sitting in the studio, but in how she looks at all times, in all lights, what she looked like before and what she is going to look like, what she thinks, hopes, believes and dreams.
John Brack, 1957
oil on canvas
81.3 x 61.0 cm stretcher; 95.8 x 75.7 x 5.8 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r. corner, black oil "John Brack 57".
Not on display
Shown in 5 exhibitions
Purchases and Acquisitions for 1957, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 18 Feb 1958–16 Mar 1958
Contemporary Australian art:
Parallel Visions: Twenty-two artists from the Australian collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 22 Feb 2002–May 2003
John Brack Retrospective (2009-2010), Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne, 24 Apr 2009–09 Aug 2009
Australian modern masterpieces from the Art Gallery of New South Wales:
Referenced in 11 publications
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 118 (colour illus.).
Edmund Capon, Parallel visions: works from the Australian collection, 'John Brack / Jeffrey Smart', pg. 116-127, Sydney, 2002, 116, 117 (colour illus.), 142, 147.
James Gleeson, Contemporary Australian art, 'Introduction', pg. 5-6, Auckland, 1960, 7. cat.no. 6
Kristy Grant, John Brack, 'Human nature: the art of John Brack', pg. 87-132, Melbourne, 2009, 56 (colour illus.), 217.
Sasha Grishin, Australian painters of the twentieth century, 'John Brack', pg. 160-171, Sydney, 2000, 160 (colour illus.), 161.
Denise Mimmocchi, Look, 'Instilling the familiar with a lurking sense of uncertainty', pg. 29, Sydney, Jul 2011, 29.
Barry Pearce, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'The enduring image', pg. 265-266, Sydney, 2000, 269 (colour illus.), 300.
Barry Pearce, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian', pg. 13-35, Sydney, 1988, 32.
Alison Small, Art and Artists of Australia, Melbourne, 1981, (colour illus.).
William Splatt and Barbara Burton, 100 masterpieces of Australian painting, Adelaide, 1973, 182, 183 (colour illus.). plate no. 88
Wayne Tunnicliffe, Look, 'John Brack: two superb new acquisitions', pg. 30-31, Sydney, Dec 2013-Jan 2014, 30.