Bryan Westwood

Private View Tuesday 18 September 6-8pm
15 September – 10 October 2012

Bryan Westwood 1930-2000
Archibald Prize winner 1989 & 1992
A selection of works from the estate

Bryan Westwood was born in Lima, Peru in 1930. He was educated in South America and Australia, and he has lived in Italy, France and the United States. He began to paint in 1966 and his first commercial exhibition was in 1969 and won The Archibald Prize twice, in 1989 & 1992. He died April 13, 2000

bryan-westwood

Bryan Westwood

ROAD SIGNGOING WEST 1987
oil on canvas 122×75cm

Bryan Westwood

Bryan was a complex man with a ‘black dog’ often at his shoulder. We first met in the 1960’s when he attended classes with Justin O’Brien and Jeffrey Smart at Mary White’s long demolished studio in Edgecliff.

Bryan, Justin and Jeffrey also attended classes together with Dorothy Thornhill, the brilliant draftswoman, in those dear dead pre p c days.

Early in his painting career Bryan did a number of full scale exercises in the manner of Velasquez and these may still be seen in the older collections which focus on content rather than monetary value.

After this came what I recall as a period of super-realism typified by his Woman in the Phone Box.

Bryan’s Portrait of Mervyn Horton hung in the Archibald Prize in 1966 and was a fine likeness but the canvas was too big and filled with esoteric references. It is in the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, although rarely hung (not in conformity with terms of its donation).

He was a lovely dinner guest, full of wit and full of arcane theories about fascinating subjects. His letters were a joy always, the two-pager from the Savoy Hotel in London conveyed the pleasure he took in painting HM the Queen, and also his pleasure in the room where the subject of the portrait ‘talked easily’ on many topics.

From Buckingham Palace to an art-deco block of apartments, Somerset in Elizabeth Bay, this is where I first dined with Bryan and two other denizens of the block Justin O’Brien and Jeffrey Smart, and with Mervyn Horton. Whatever it was we ate, was awfully good, and the chat included the telling of O’Brien and Smart’s recent visit to Hill End and returning with a handsome pottery jar containing some mysterious powder. When Justin emptied this into the loo – there was a violent reaction – Justin called Smartipoos from across the hall ‘Come and have a look at this’. They escaped with their eyebrows intact when the loo was blown from its moorings. In those days we would talk til 3am and still get on with things.

Our local diner was Primo’s Restaurant which had rather primitive murals by Jeff Smart, and two or three evenings a week we would dine together there on a chance basis. After a time in France, Bryan had a lovely exhibition at Bonython Art Gallery in Paddington. In one of his shows at the Robin Gibson Gallery was a terrific portrait which I bought, and Bryan made me immediately un-buy.

Bryan’s remarkable portrait of Margaret Olley was too true to be good, but was a great painting which he subsequently destroyed (finalist Archibald Prize 1993).

His portrait of Paul Keating won the Archibald in 1991/2. Later, for abut two years this was hung in Sue du Val’s dining room where she teasingly delighted in the horror of her many right wing friends. At the time Bryan lived opposite Sue and strenuously objected when her house was painted blue, informing her that ONLY houses in the Greek Islands and Goa were allowed to be painted blue.

In this small article I have just briefly touched on some aspects of Bryan’s life. In the current exhibition at the Robin Gibson Gallery many of the works from different periods are on show and I urge you to see them.

Christopher Davis
September 2012

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    Bryan Westwood

    BREAD ROLLS 1979
    52×41cm oil on canvas

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    Bryan Westwood

    FOUR SHELLS 1980
    122×92cm acrylic & oil on board

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    Bryan Westwood

    SIX PILLOWS 1976
    122×122cm oil on board

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    Bryan Westwood

    CANE BURNING No2 COFFS HARBOUR 1988
    acrylic on board 60×60cm


  • Bryan Westwood

    WORK CLOTHES 2 1976

    122×122cm oil on board

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    Bryan Westwood

    TWO FISH 1979
    122×92cm mixed media on board

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    Bryan Westwood

    CITRUS & POMEGRANATE 1999
    38×46cm oil on canvas

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    Bryan Westwood

    Yass #4 1981 oil on board 60.5×60cm

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    Bryan Westwood

    SIRE 1985
    101×101cm oil on canvas

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    Bryan Westwood

    STUDY FOR STORRIER PORTRAIT 1982
    23×20.5cm acrylic on board

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    Bryan Westwood

    FIRST STUDY FOR PORTRAIT OF MALCOLM FRASER 1981
    73×58.5cm oil on canvas
    Purchased for National Portrait Gallery Canberra collection

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    Bryan Westwood

    Study for Self Portrait with Engraving Apron 1978 oil on canvas on board 27×17cm

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    Bryan Westwood

    BROKEN HILL 1 (HOUSE) 1978
    oil on canvas 91×151cm

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    Bryan Westwood

    THREE SHELLS 1984
    oil on board 50×52cm

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    Bryan Westwood

    TOWARDS ONE TREE HILL AT BLACK SOIL PLAINS 1988
    acrylic on canvas 116×153cm

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    Bryan Westwood

    PORTRAIT OF HARRY WHITE, JOCKEY 1986
    acrylic on canvas 152×91cm

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    Bryan Westwood

    QUARRY 1976
    oil on board 122×122cm

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    Bryan Westwood

    Still Life with Tulips 1996 oil on canvas 45.5×45.5cm

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    Bryan Westwood

    OLGAS FROM THE EAST 1994
    oil on board 25.5×30.5cm

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    Bryan Westwood

    ANOTHER PAINTER IN THE STUDIOTIM STORRIER 1982
    oil on board 122×122cm
    Purchased for National Portrait Gallery Canberra collection

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    Bryan Westwood

    WATER SIGNS (FISH OF THE GREAT BARRIER REEF) 1980
    acrylic on board 122×92cm

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    Bryan Westwood

    Fruit Waiting to be eaten – Figs 1996 oil on canvas 40×50cm

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    Bryan Westwood

    PORTRAIT OF KAREN 1986
    oil on canvas 95×77cm

  • bryan-westwood

    Bryan Westwood

    PORTRAIT OF HARRY WHITE, JOCKEY (DETAIL) 1986
    acrylic on canvas 152×91cm


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