Brett Whiteley is one of Australia's most renowned artists. He was born in Sydney in 1939 and grew up in Longueville in New South Wales. In 1960, Whiteley moved to London on a Travelling Art Scholarship and his work was displayed at the Whitechapel and Marlborough galleries. Whiteley's reputation grew internationally after winning the international prize at the International Biennale for Young Artists in 1962, and he had his first solo exhibition at the Matthiesen Gallery. In 1967 Whiteley won a scholarship to study and work in New York and became influenced by American Abstract Expressionist painters. During his time overseas, Whiteley's abstract and fluid style turned to figuration, and imagery of sex and violence became a popular motif in his paintings. He worked across the mediums of painting, sculpture and graphic work, and also experimented with collage, playing around with fibreglass and photographs. His work continued to be exhibited widely in Australia, France, Belgium and Italy. In 1969, Whiteley returned permanently to Australia and was one of the leading artists of the avant-garde movement. In the late 1970's, Whiteley won the Archibald, the Wynne and Sulman twice and in 1991 he was awarded the Order of Australia. Brett Whiteley died of a heroin overdose on June 15, 1992, aged 53.