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Australian art

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Woman in bath

re-worked 1964


Brett Whiteley

Australia, England

07 Apr 1939 - 15 Jun 1992


Following his Sigean abstractions, Whiteley's increasing preoccupation with the female torso led to his bathroom series which preserved the warm colours of his abstractions while constrasting them with the bathroom's acid blues and greens. The series signalled his breakthrough as a figure draughtsman and his desire to make eroticism more explicit:

'All the paintings I have made in the last four years have been concerned one way or another with sex and the desire to record sensual behaviour.'
- Brett Whiteley 1964

Focusing on the naked form of his wife Wendy in the bath, Whiteley's Woman in bath series, captured the tactility and tones of her flesh with a profound intimacy, rarely equalled in later paintings on this subject.

From the Gallery Shop


Other Titles

Woman in the Bath 4

Woman in bath IV

Woman in the bath 4


re-worked 1964

Media category


Materials used

oil, paper, fabric collage, graphite and tempera on plywood


183.1 x 218.7 cm board; 188.0 x 224.0 x 6.3 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed l.l., white oil "Whiteley". Not dated.


Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales 2000

Accession number


Artist information

Brett Whiteley

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 14 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 27 publications


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2000, 'Year in review', pg. 8-20, Sydney, 2000, 8.

Anita Brookner, The Burlington Magazine, 'Current and forthcoming exhibitions', pg. 298, London, Jun 1964, 298. General review of Marlborough exhibition

Craig Bush, Look, 'Years of enrichment: The society reaches another milestone', pg. 12-15, Sydney, May 2009, 13 (colour illus.), 14.

Edmund Capon AM, OBE, Art Gallery of New South Wales: highlights from the collection, Sydney, 2008, 103 (colour illus.).

Christie's, Australia Pty. Ltd., Christie's Australia. The Harold E Mertz Collection of Australian Art: Melbourne 28 June 2000, Melbourne, 2000, 71 (colour illus.). lot no. 57; estimated price $350,000 - $550,000; titled 'Woman in Bath IV'; dated 1964

Kenneth Coutts-Smith., Arts review [vol. 16, no. 8], 'Brett Whiteley: Marlborough New London Gallery', London, 02 May 1964-16 May 1964, page unknown. General review of Marlborough exhibition

Émile Langui., Art since mid-century: The New Internationalism, 'Expressionism since 1945 and the Cobra Movement', Greenwich, 1971, 85 (illus.), 87, 88. vol.2 Figurative Art; plate no. 92; NOTE: this image depicts the early version of the painting before re-working

Ross K Luck, The Australian painters 1964-1966: contemporary Australian painting from the Mertz collection, Adelaide, 1967, 28, 66 (colour illus.). 75; titled 'Woman in Bath', dated 1964

Marlborough New London Gallery (Curator), Brett Whiteley, London, Mar 1964, (illus.). not paginated; 16; titled 'Woman in the Bath 4'; dated 1963

Sandra McGrath, Brett Whiteley, Kensington, 1979, 38, 40.

National Gallery of South Australia (Editor), Bulletin of the National Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Apr 1966, front cover (illus.). Reproduction shows interior shot of the Mertz Collection exhibition with 'Woman in bath' on wall in the Intermediate Gallery.

Barry Pearce, Look, 'A quiet love affair: private passion over 33 years gives birth to a book', pg. 26-29, Sydney, Sep 2014, 27 (colour illus.). extract

Barry Pearce, Look: 1953-2003 celebrating 50 years, 'Presenting our own artists: how the AGS put balance into the Australian collection', pg. 42-44, Sydney, May 2003, 44.

Bryan Robertson, Brett Whiteley Art & Life, 'The London years', pg. 8-14, London, 1995, 22-23, 84-85 (colour illus.), 227. plate no. 32; titled 'Woman in bath'; dated 1964; NOTE: this work was not in the exhibition; general reference to bathroom series

Joseph Rykwert, Domus (no. 416), 'Mostre a Londra', pg. 48, Milan, Jul 1964, 48. General review of Marlborough exhibition

Georgina Safe, The Australian, 'Buyers pay till it Mertz, and will keep works at home', pg. 6, Sydney, 30 Jun 2000, 6. Auction of Mertz Collection and purchase of 'Woman in bath IV' by AGNSW.

Charles S. Spencer, The Studio, 'Brett Whiteley: Classicism and actuality', pg. 108-111, London, Mar 1964. General review of Marlborough exhibition

Kathie Sutherland, Brett Whiteley: A sensual lilne 1957-67, 'Revelation: Rome to London 1960-1962', pg. 42-84, Victoria, 2010, 102, 110-111 (colour illus.), 270. LL1

Jill Sykes (Editor), Look, 'AGNSW current exhibitions: The London Years', pg. 53, Sydney, Aug 2012, 53 (colour illus.). Article featured in ‘AGNSW exhibitions’.

Alejandra Szczepaniak, Look, 'The year of giving generously', pg. 22-23, Melbourne, Dec 2000-Jan 2001, 23 (colour illus.).

The Brett Whiteley Studio, Brett Whiteley: Interiors, Sydney, 2001. List of works.

Nevile Wallis, The Spectator, 'Bride in the bath', pg. 663-664, London, 15 May 1964. General review of Marlborough exhibition

Judith White (Editor), Look, 'Indigo icon', pg. 25, Melbourne, Oct 2000, 8 (colour illus., detail), 24 (colour illus.), 25.

Miranda Wood., Sun-Herald, '$3332,000 paid to see woman in bath', Sydney, 30 Jul 2000, page unknown (colour illus.). Article about Gallery's purchase of this painting; review of 'Australian Icons' exhibition.

Editor Unknown (Editor), Daily news, 'It's his wife!!", Perth, 07 Jan 1965, page unknown (illus.). General review of T.E. Wardle Invitation Art Prize 1965

Adelaide Festival of Arts 1966: special exhibitions at the National Gallery of South Australia, 'The Mertz collection of contemporary Australian art', Adelaide, 1966, not paginated. 97; titled 'Woman in Bath VI'; not dated

Editor Unknown (Editor), Life, 'Australian Art', Chicago, 03 Apr 1967, 28 (colour illus.). titled 'Woman in Bath'