Frannie is from one of Australia’s most pre-eminent art families, the Whiteley’s – she is Brett Whiteley’s sister, both having grown up amidst Australian art royalty.
Frannie twice sat for William (‘Weppy’) Pidgeon, a family friend, before Brett’s ascent, each portrait entered into the Archibald Prize. The second entry caused some controversy but later won the Australian Women’s Weekly Art Prize for 1956. And William Pidgeon went on to win the Archibald, twice – once in 1958, and again in 1961.
Frannie and Brett shared a very strong bond throughout their lives, but it was perhaps in the final years of Brett’s life that they were closest, as it was to Frannie that Brett had turned when “…a destructive madness” (the divorce from Wendy) descended on his life.
Frannie herself is a gifted writer, with an extraordinary ability to move the reader with a courage and honesty which comes from a place of deep, spiritual connection. She has authored two books: Brett, a biography of Brett Whiteley encompassing her own autobiography; as well as, The Seven Loves of Mary Magdalen, a memoir and reflection of love lost, short-listed for the Finch Memoir Prize. She has also been art critic and an arts writer at several publications and magazines.