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The Whiteley at 20: Twenty Years of the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship

  • This event finished on 05 May 2019

22 March – 5 May 2019

An exhibition of artworks by 20 young Australian artists celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship, will be on view at the S.H. Ervin Gallery in Sydney from 22 March to 5 May 2019.

The Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship was established by Ms Beryl Whiteley (1917-2010) who generously allocated funds for the scholarship in memory of her son, Brett Whiteley, to provide young painters the opportunity to travel to Paris and explore Europe in order to develop their artistic practice.  Since its inception in 1999, 20 young painters have followed in the footsteps if Brett Whiteley who won the Italian Government Travelling Scholarship in 1959.

The exhibition features works by Sally Anderson, Alice Byrne, Mitch Cairns, James Drinkwater, Petrea Fellow, Becky Gibson, Nathan Hawkes, Alan Jones, Nicole Kelly, Belem Lett, Lucy O’Doherty, Wayde Owen, Timothy Phillips, Tom Polo, Ben Quilty, Karlee Rawkins, Samuel Wade, Amber Wallis, Natasha Walsh, and Marcus Wills, alongside the four paintings by Brett Whiteley that secured him the Italian Government Travelling Scholarship, displayed together for the first time since 1959.

 The exhibition presents the works by each artist that were entered and/ or won the scholarship, works resulting from their residency at the Cite Internationale des Art, Paris and recent work. The cohort of scholarship awardees features three artists who have gone on to win the Archibald Prize and many have now established themselves on the art scene and exhibit regularly.


In 1959 at the age of 20, Brett Whiteley was awarded an Italian Government Travelling Scholarship which allowed him to travel to Italy for ten months.  He submitted four works – Abstract Autumn, Dixon Street, July, and Around Bathurst – the painting which won him the scholarship. His mother Beryl recognised the significance of the scholarship that her son Brett had experienced in his formative years, and in the years following his death decided to give young Australian painters the same opportunity.

The Brett Whiteley Studio, administered by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, awards an annual travelling art scholarship to a talented artist aged 20-30 with an established body of work who is best able to demonstrate the use and benefit of the scholarship to further their art education in Europe.Arriving in Naples in February 1960, Whiteley spent time in Rome and Florence, where he frequently visited the Uffizi Gallery to examine and revel in Renaissance artwork. On a brief visit to London to show his portfolio, Whiteley was selected for a group exhibition by the McRoberts & Tunnard Gallery. After his Italian scholarship finished in November 1960, Whiteley moved to London to seek opportunities for his new collection of paintings. Three were included in the Whitechapel Art Gallery’s ‘Survey of Recent Australian Painting’, where the legendary Tate Gallery purchased his Untitled Red painting for their permanent collection. He soon had a solo exhibition at London’s Matthieson Gallery and showings throughout Europe.

The scholarship is intended to encourage excellence in painting and to offer young artists the same opportunity to develop their careers as were afforded to Brett Whiteley.

Presented with the support of the Art Gallery of New South Wales through the Beryl Whiteley Bequest.



Image: Brett Whiteley at work in a studio c. 1964 © estate of Tony Evans/Timelapse Library Limited 2019

We have organised a number of related events in conjunction to this exhibition, for more information, please visit our Special Events page. 

Purchase The Whiteley at 20 exhibition catalogue online

List of Works