Famous Australian Artists

Famous Australian Artists

As Aussies abroad it’s up to us to represent. So, lets get acquainted with some homegrown talent. Don’t feel left behind on the world stage because we have many artists that have left their mark internationally.

Even, if you’re not an art lover, you will enjoy this read. We take a brief look at some of the most famous Australian artists and their interesting lives. Maybe you’ve seen the Louvre, you’ve been to Florence or looked at the museums in New York, pondered the magnificence of Leonardo Da Vinci. However, you may not have heard of our most famous Australian artists.

Remember it’s all about bragging rights. Ozzies abroad looks at famous Australian artists.

Brett Whiteley

Brett Whiteley is a Sydney boy born in 1939. A talented young artist whose untitled red painting was purchased by the Tate Gallery. Soon after he moved to London during swinging 60s where he painted the abstract series Bathing, The Zoo and the Christies. Famous Australian Artists

While in London Whiteley became fascinated with the serial killer John Christie and the Christie series were paintings based on his crimes. Clive James book “Falling Towards England” features Whiteley as the character Dibbs and his wife appears as Delosh.

Whiteley later moved to New York City where he famously lived in the Chelsea Hotel and became mates with the likes of Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin. Whiteley was well-known for drugs because they helped him paint but he didn’t partake in the fashionable heroine at that time. During his time in New York he became engrossed in the peace movement and the anti Vietnam war sentiment.

Whiteley also painted many Australian landscapes and portraits and was well-known for giving unsigned paintings away, these paintings would be worth a fortune today if signed. Whiteley said in a ABC television documentary called Difficult Pleasure that “painting is an argument between what it looks like and what it seems”. Unfortunately Whiteley became addicted to heroine which sadly claimed his life in 1992 at the age of 53.

His most expensive work sold for 7.8 million. It was a painting he earlier gave to Qantas in exchange for air travel.

For Brett Whitely prints, paintings and products. Click here.

Norman Lindsay

Norman Lindsay born in 1879 is regarded as one of Australia’s greatest and most prolific artists. His work spans many medias including cartoonist, painter, writer, pencil and pen drawings. Lindsay was also an accomplished amateur boxer. Even today, his art climbs in value and his vast collection includes famous children’s book The magic Pudding which has been translated into Japanese, German, French and Spanish.Famous Australian Artists

Lindsay rejected established religions and challenged social norms and his work was deemed blasphemous due to controversial subjects and nudes. His 1930 novel Redhead was banned due to censorship laws until 1964 but is now regarded as an Australian classic. He is famous for writing Age of Consent which is about a middle age painter who meets an adolescent girl that later becomes his lover. This book was also banned in Australia due to censorship laws until 1964.

His life has been partly portrayed in two films “Age of Consent” starring Helen Mirren in her first credited movie role and later “Sirens” in 1994 starring supermodel Elle McPhereson. Lindsay passed away in 1969 at the age of 90.

For Norman Lindsay prints, paintings and products. Click here.

Sidney Nolan

Sir Sidney Nolan lead an interesting life and is one of Australia’s most prolific and diverse modern artists. After deserting the army during world war 2 he was involved in a menage au trois living arrangement and soon after painted his iconic “Ned Kelly” series. He wanted to tell the story of a hero, a fighter and the victim through his art. Nolans portrayal of the Australian backdrop showed the world how beautiful Australia is.Famous Australian Artists

In the Ned Kelly series Kelly represents Nolan himself as a fugitive facing the possibility of being sent back to the front line of war in Papua New Guinea. Works from Nolan’s Kelly series have been acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Tate Modern in London.

Nolan traveled and painted extensively and was also a prolific book cover illustrator. His painting “The Missing Nolan” was purchased by the Art gallery of NSW for 5.4 million.

For Sidney Nolan prints, paintings and products. Click here.

Emily Kame Kngwarreye

Kngwarreye is one of Australia’s most successful contemporary indigenous Australian artists. Interestingly she didn’t start painting seriously until she reached the age of 80. Kngwarreye lives in the Utopia Community in the Australian out back. Her artistic training came from designs in women’s ceremonies and she has described her paintings as having meaning in all aspects of her community life.Famous Australian Artists

She had a very short-lived career and there was a myth created around her as she was rumored to have never been outside of the desert. Kngwarreye received international popularity and eight of her paintings were sold together for over $500,000. In 1994 her painting “Earths Creation” was purchased in 1997 for over 1 million dollars. She died peacefully at home among her community in 1996 aged 86.

For Kngwarreye prints, paintings and products. Click Here.

Click Here to view Aboriginal Artwork collection. Free International delivery.

There You Have It

Now you know a little about our artists. You know what you gotta do, get out there in the big bad world and represent. Remember it’s all about bragging rights.

See Ya later!




6 Replies to “Famous Australian Artists”

  1. Your site is unique and interesting. I felt the nice range of artist you chose was enjoyable to read about. You made it very easy to see and I am considering to invest in Norman Lindsay artwork.

    I like that your other pages about Australia especially The Most Deadly Animals in Australia. I thought that was fascinating to learn.

    This is a great site and I will follow you on Facebook.

    1. Ohhh schucks Katherine. Too kind and thanks for your comment. Message me if you need any advice on the Norman Lindsay artwork. Most of his prints are worth thousands and are still increasing in value every year. 

  2. Hi Dave.
    Nice article you have here, though I’m not an art lover, I found your post very interesting and have learnt a few things about these Australian artist.
    Emily Kame’s story was quite intriguing. I wonder what it is like to get your big break at 80. What was the myth created around her because she never left her community? I will love to hear the story. Thanks for the post.

    1. Yes, the myth was that she never left her community but it was later discovered that she had been to Perth. Thanks for your comment.

  3. I think art is fascinating and its always really interesting to learn about the people behind the art, their stories, and the inspiration and meaning or their work.
    I love looking at a piece of art and just imagining what the story is behind it. Sometimes I even look at art and imagine my own story within it.
    I really liked your article, it was interesting to read about these different artists and their stories.

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