A Collection of Works by Wes Walters

Recognized as one of Australia’s leading portrait painters of his time, we are honored to present a collection of works by Wes Walters as part of this Thursday, 1st October’s Art Salon auction.

Working in a non-figurative, abstract style since the beginning of his artistic career in the early 1960s, it was not until 2001 that Walters held an exhibition of these works. This is evident in the collection, one of the earliest being painted in 1960 titled ‘Early Abstract 3’ (oil on canvas). The paint is layered and heavily applied to the canvas demonstrating a sense of movement and texture. Upon first glance, it seems the work uses a subdued dark palette. However, on further inspection, it is as though Walters wants us to focus on the fiery instances that penetrate the darker regions of the work. This same technique is applied to many of Walters’ paintings during this period, using a brighter palette to accentuate the darker, textured brush strokes.

Whilst Walters was exploring this method, he was heavily invested in portraiture. He created over two hundred portraits of Australians of all walks of life including musicians, politicians, academics and artists. Winning the Archibald Prize in 1979 for a portrait of Phillip Adams, Walters enjoyed a pivotal moment in his career where he was able to maintain a strong profile as an artist. One of his most prominent portraits was of Dr. Joseph Brown, Australia’s greatest art collector and mentor to the arts community, painted in 1983. This painting is now in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, located at the entrance of the Joseph Brown Collection room. During the creation of this work, Walters produced many studies of Brown including Portrait of Joseph Brown, a highlight of our upcoming auction. In this portrait, Walters has captured Brown in a seated position from a slight angle with smooth and confident lines, this particular sketch is an accurate representation of the final renowned portrait of Brown.

Right: Dr Joseph Brown, 1983, Wes Walters National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne The Joseph Brown Collection. Presented through the NGV Foundation by Dr Joseph Brown AO OBE, Honorary Life Benefactor, 2004 © Courtesy of the artist’s estate


Browse the full catalogue of works online from Wednesday 30 September.

Hannah Ryan, Art Salon Manager

25 September, 2020