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Two unique artists are brought together for an exhibition titled - Baldessin/Whiteley: Parallel Visions, offering the work of two major figures in the story of twentieth-century Australian art.

Born in the same year - 1939 - George Baldessin and Brett Whiteley both experienced meteoric success during the 1960s and 1970s, in their respective cities of Melbourne and Sydney, and both tragically, died unexpectedly young.

This exhibition brings together the work of these two major figures in the story of twentieth-century Australian art and reveals, for the first time, the startling and unusual synergies found between their provocative and expressive imagery.

Featuring more than 120 rare and important works, Parallel Visions is the most comprehensive display of works by each artist presented in the last two decades and surveys the careers of both Baldessin and Whiteley.

Highlights include Whiteley’s magnum opus The American dream, 1968-69, an immersive painting spanning over 20 metres in length created in response to his time in New York City, which is on loan from the Art Gallery of Western Australia. The exhibition also includes Baldessin’s MM of Rue St Denis series, 1976, which transposes the Christian figure of Mary Magdalene into the streets of Paris.

Also on display are five of Baldessin’s large-scale pear sculptures, Pears 1971–72, three of which have been newly cast especially for this exhibition, and Whiteley’s provocative and career-defining Christie series, 1965, which boldly explores the crimes and psyche of convicted British murderer John Christie.

Primarily a print-maker, sculptor and graphic artist, Baldessin’s practice reflected the rich multicultural humanism of Melbourne, infused with inspiration from France, Japan and Italy, his country of birth. Whiteley, principally a painter, print-maker and sculptor, was a celebrated figure of the Sydney art scene, who found early success in London and basked in the avant-garde culture of New York before returning to Sydney.

Baldessin/Whiteley: Parallel Visions at NGV

"This is the first ever exhibition to draw parallels between the practices of George Baldessin and Brett Whiteley. This exhibition showcases the ground-breaking pictorial language of both artists and reveals, among many aspects, their shared use of the human figure as a vehicle to comment on the human condition with a uniquely Australian sensibility," said NGV Director, Tony Ellwood.

Curated by Emeritus Professor Sasha Grishin AM, see Baldessin/Whiteley: Parallel Visions at the NGV Australia.


Dates: 31 August 2018 – 28 January 2019

Location: The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square

Times: Daily, 10am - 5pm

Cost: Admission fees apply

NGV Website

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