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Born on April 7, 1939 in Syney, Australia, Brett Whiteley was an Australian painter who was deeply influenced by Vincent van Gogh and post-war British painters such as Francis Bacon. He lived amidst the locals of the Chelsea Hotel during a stay in New York in the late 1960s which dramatized the scale and emotional intensity of his paintings while also gathering inspiration from the fast pace of urban life. The artist often cited the Vietnam War and his drug/alcohol addiction as the nebulous for his work, as evidenced in The American Dream, 1968, a monumental work spanning nearly 72 feet covered in street debris and collaged photographs. 

Whiteley’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Tate Gallery in London, and the National Gallery of Australia, among others.

The artist passed away on June 15, 1992. 

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