24 May, 2008
Whiteley & Bacon
He married Wendy Julius in 1962, and their only child, daughter Arkie Whiteley, was born in London in 1964. While in London, Whiteley painted works in several different series of works: bathing, the zoo and the Christie series. It was these abstracted works which established him as an artist, right at the time when many other Australian artists were exhibiting in London. He painted Woman in Bath as part of a series of works he was doing of bathroom pictures.
In 1964, while in London, Whiteley was fascinated by the murderer John Christie, who had committed murders in the area near where Whiteley was staying at Ladbroke Grove. He painted a series of paintings based on these events, including Head of Christie. The painting is a face which has been warped and distorted, with a mean looking expression, but is not too gruesome to be horrible.
"In the 1960s, London was the place to be, as young musicians, writers, painters, and filmmakers threw off the shackles imposed by their elders and created a vibrant, swinging culture. Among those bringing about these changes were a number of significant Australians.
They included Barry Humphries, with his scatological cartoon, The Adventures of Barry McKenzie, in the satirical magazine, Private Eye; Richard Neville, publishing his underground magazine, Oz, which became the focus of an epoch-marking censorship trial; Germaine Greer, writing her explosive feminist book, The Female Eunuch; Rolf Harris, entertaining with his wobble-board and house-paint art; The Seekers, topping the pop charts with World of Our Own; Martin Sharp, designing psychedelic record covers and writing songs for Cream; Brett Whiteley, exhibiting paintings of the serial-killer, John Christie; Bruce Beresford, beginning his film career at the British Film Institute; Clive James, launching himself as a television critic and performer; Robert Hughes, eloquently provocative as art critic for The Observer and BBC-TV; The Easybeats, topping the pop charts with their youth anthem, Friday on My Mind; and Sidney Nolan, promoting Australian larrikinism through his paintings of the Australian outlaw, Ned Kelly.
Lying Figure with Hypodermic Syringe 1963
This was painted by Bacon the year before Whiteley started his Christie paintings. Unfortunately there are no images of whiteley's Christie paintings available online for comparative purposes.