Brett Whiteley exploited his prodigious talents by living life to the full, depending on a heady mix of alcohol, heroin and sex for inspiration. His life went beyond mere painting, trying to achieve greatness through integrating life with art. The result was a fine consolidation of the best aspects of modern painting, from abstraction to meticulous practice and research into a multitude of techniques. Although his life was shortened, he was able to achieve a lasting body of work that elevates him beyond his outstanding fame as an Australian painter, into the pantheon of great artists of the 20th Century. He died of a heroin overdose in June 1992 in New South Wales at the age of 55.