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An image of Nude with two chairs by John Brack

John Brack

(Australia 1920 – 11 Feb 1999)

Nude with two chairs
Media category
Materials used
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".
Purchased 1957
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

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

Bibliography (11)

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. 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, Roseville, 2000, 160 (colour illus.), 161.

Denise Mimmocchi, Look, 'Instilling the familiar with a lurking sense of uncertainty', pg. 29, Newtown, Jul 2011, 29.

Barry Pearce, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian', pg. 13-35, Sydney, 1988, 32.

Barry Pearce, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'The enduring image', pg. 265-266, Sydney, 2000, 269 (colour illus.), 300.

Alison Small, Art and Artists of Australia, South 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, Newtown, Dec 2013-Jan 2014, 30.

Exhibition history (5)

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: