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Australian art

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The balcony 2



Brett Whiteley

Australia, England

07 Apr 1939 - 15 Jun 1992


'Windsor and Newton Deep Ultramarine oil colour has an obsessive, ecstasy-like effect upon my nervous system quite unlike any other colour.'
Brett Whiteley 1975

'The balcony 2' is one of his most evocative harbour paintings, encapsulating key elements of Whiteley's art – fluent draughtsmanship, an erotically charged curvilinear line and an ability to invest minimal brushstrokes with multiple associations.

Whiteley's return to Australia in 1969 heralded a new preoccupation with colour and beauty. Inspired principally by Matisse, but also by his house at Lavender Bay on Sydney Harbour's north shore, he created a series of large scale paintings of expansive interiors and views evoking the marine beauty of the harbour.

His last studio and home at 2 Raper Street, Surry Hills in Sydney is now a museum managed by the Art Gallery of NSW. Further information can be found at


Other Title

Sydney by night [title used at acquisition]



Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


203.5 x 364.5 cm stretcher; 210.9 x 372.2 x 6.3 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.l. corner, white oil "1975 brett whiteley".


Purchased 1981


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Brett Whiteley

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 14 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 39 publications


Barry Pearce et al., Brett Whiteley education pack, 'Return to Sydney and Lavender Bay', Sydney, 1995, (colour illus.). card no. 8 in education pack

Michaela Boland., Weekend Australian, 'Master cards', pg. 9, Sydney, 07 Sep 2013, 9.

Edmund Capon AM, OBE and Jan Meek (Editors), Portrait of a Gallery, 'Australian 20th Century Art', pg. 71-89, Sydney, 1984, 72, 72 (colour illus.).

Margaret Clarke (Director), Red, black and Whiteley, North Ryde, 2000, 00:00.43 for 3 seconds (colour, detail). Close up of painting focused on blue harbour and white boats which merges with actual harbour footage with shimmering water. Discusses how alcohol opens up circus of the imagination which Whiteley feared he would not be able to reach otherwise.

Jonathan Cooper (Editor), The Art Gallery of New South Wales Bulletin, 'Big Blue', pg. 28-29, Sydney, May 1997-Jun 1997, 29 (colour illus.).

Rhana Devenport and Vaughan Rees, Art-i-facts, Book One: An exploration of art and design for junior secondary students, 'Structure in art and design', pg. 87-118, Sydney, 1991, 115 (colour illus.).

Deborah Edwards, Two centuries of Australian painting: a selection from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Introduction', pg. 8-14, Sydney, 1986, 14, 42 (colour illus.). 46

Elizabeth Fortescue, Daily telegraph mirror, 'Regarding Whiteley', pg. 28-29, Sydney, 09 Sep 1995, 28-29. This article appears in the 'Focus' section of the newspaper.

Bill Gregory, Art and Australia (Vol. 40, No. 3), 'Collecting international art', pg. 454-457, St Leonards, Mar 2003-May 2003, 455 (colour illus.).

Richard Hall (Editor), Sydney: an Oxford anthology, South Melbourne, 2000, front cover (colour illus.).

Jane Hampson, Look, '', pg. 17, Melbourne, Feb 2001, 17 (colour illus.). Image of David Williamson standing in front of 'The balcony 2'.

Jane Hampson, Sun-Herald, 'Brett Whiteley's Images of Sydney Harbour', pg. 15, Sydney, 29 Jun 1997, 15 (illus.). 'Appearing in the 'Time Out' section.

Mervyn Horton (Editor), Art and Australia [vol. 13, no. 3], Sydney, Jan 1976-Mar 1976, 233 (illus.). Exhibition Commentary: Brett Whiteley at Bonython, Sydney.

Terry Ingram., The Australian financial review, 'Sir John's art fetches $42,000', Sydney, 24 Aug 1981. Appearing in the 'Salesroom' section of the Australian Financial Review, with regards to the sale of `The Balcony 2', acquired by AGNSW.

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian Collection: Painting and Sculpture', pg. 102-181, Sydney, 1999, 167 (colour illus.).

Thomas Keneally, Australia, 'Dead heart / live heart', pg. 30-35, London, 2013, 31 (colour illus.). 9

Lou Klepac, Affinities: Brett Whiteley & Lloyd Rees, 'Introduction', pg. 2-4, Sydney, 2001, 8.

Barbara Konkolowicz, Look, 'Big Blue Sydney Harbour Through The Eyes of Artists', pg. 20-21, Heidelberg, May 1997, 21 (colour illus.).

Alan McCulloch and Susan McCulloch, The Encyclopedia of Australian Art, St Leonards, 1994, 648-49 (colour illus.).

Susan McCulloch, Alan McCulloch and Emily McCulloch Childs, The new McCulloch's encyclopedia of Australian art, Carlton, 2006, 1085 (colour illus.).

Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Ken Done: The Art of Design, Sydney, 1994, 32 (illus.).

Barry Pearce, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Australian', pg. 13-35, Sydney, 1988, 32, 34-35 (colour illus.).

Barry Pearce, Brett Whiteley Art & Life, 'Persona and the Painter', pg. 15-41, London, 1995, 35-36, 145 (colour illus.), 231. plate no. 86

Barry Pearce, Three years on: a selection of acquisitions 1978-1981, 'Australian Art', pg. 6-7, Sydney, 1981, 6, 25 (colour illus.). 45

Barry Pearce, Australian art: in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Landscape and gesture', pg. 239-240, Sydney, 2000, 256 (colour illus.), 257 (colour illus., detail), 302.

Barry Pearce and Alec George, 9 Shades of Whiteley, '4: Lavender Bay', pg. 21, Sydney, 2008, 20 (colour illus.), 21.

Jennifer Phipps, Members Magazine of the National Gallery Society of Victoria, 'Brett Whiteley Self Portrait and Other Intimacies', pg. 6-7, Melbourne, Jul 1996, 6 (illus.), 6-7. Appearing in the 'Special Exhibiton' section. Jennifer Phipps role at the time of publication was Curator of Australian Art.

Andrew Powell, Departures, 'Sydney[.] She's this decade's Miss Popularity among major cities, the prom queen of the southern hemisphere. And now perhaps just a bit taken with her own image', pg. 218-227, New York, Sep 1998-Oct 1998, 222-223 (colour illus.).

Max Prisk (Editor), The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Gallery packed as family pays tribute to tragic artist', pg. 5, Sydney, 07 Jul 1992, 5.

Zoë Ross (Editor), Eyewitness travel guides: Australia, 'Botanic gardens and the Domain', pg. 100-111, London, 1998, 108 (colour illus.).

Andrew Sayers, Australian art, 'Icon and abstraction 1951-68', pg. 174-195, Oxford, 2001, 190 (colour illus.). plate no. 109

Jane Scott, Barry Pearce and Wendy Whiteley, Brett Whiteley: Connections, 'Brett Whiteley: Connections', Healesville, 2010.

David Shteinman, Philosopher, 'Tribute to a Dionysian Free Spirit. The Brett Whiteley Retrospective', pg. 9-13, Cammeray, (1995-1996), 9-13.

Jill Sykes, Look, ‘Barry Pearce’s next book-call it “segueing with intent”’, pg. 28-29, Sydney, Mar 2012, 28, 29 (illus.).

Jill Sykes, Look, 'McCulloch's Encyclopedia', pg. 12, Sydney, Oct 2006, 12 (colour illus.).

The Brett Whiteley Studio (Editor), Big Blue - The painted harbour, Sydney, 1997, cover (colour illus.).

The Brett Whiteley Studio (Editor), Big blue: the painted harbour (list of works), Sydney, 1997.

The Brett Whiteley Studio, Whiteley & Rees: More affinities, Sydney, 2005, (illus.). List of works

Richard Wherrett, Sydney Theatre Company Limited Ninth Annual Report 1987, Sydney, 1987, front cover (colour illus.).