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Australian art

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Nude with two chairs



John Brack


1920 - 11 Feb 1999


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




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


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

John Brack

Artist profile

Works in the collection


Shown in 5 exhibitions

Exhibition history

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. 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, 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, 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.