We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Portrait study for 'The soup kitchen'



Brett Whiteley

Australia, England

07 Apr 1939 – 15 Jun 1992

Artist profile

Alternate image of Portrait study for 'The soup kitchen' by Brett Whiteley
Alternate image of Portrait study for 'The soup kitchen' by Brett Whiteley
  • Details

    Other Title
    verso: (Harbour scene)
    Place where the work was made
    Sydney New South Wales Australia
    Media category
    Materials used
    oil on wood
    25.3 x 21.6 cm board (irreg.); 40.7 x 36.6 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Bequest of Beryl Whiteley 2012
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Wendy Whiteley/Copyright Agency

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Brett Whiteley

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


  • About

    'The soup kitchen' 1958 was painted while Brett Whiteley, then 19 years old, was working for the ad agency Lintas. The young artist made frequent visits to the homeless shelter at the City Night Refuge and Soup Kitchen, located in Kent Street behind Sydney Town Hall, making quick sketches as well as a number of oil studies of men as they sat in the dining room. This small study of one of the itinerant men at the refuge evidences Whiteley’s early struggle with the vagaries of oil paint, seen in the pulling and reworking of the viscous medium. It is an important example of the artist’s developing career, showing his keen interest the figurative works of Russell Drysdale and William Dobell, as well as the Swiss-born artist Sali Herman, whose urban street scenes he had studied at the AGNSW.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


Other works by Brett Whiteley

See all 85 works