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News and Opinion

At Bonhams 42 lot Important Australian Art sale in Sydney last night, the key work was also the final lot in the sale: Arthur Boyd’s impressive early 'The Prodigal Son', 1946-47. Estimated at $600,000-$800,000 the work sold for what looked like the steal of the night at $470,000 hammer price. Bonhams final art sale for 2014 generated $1.64 million, with 74% sold by lot and 70% by value.
Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi’s demise echoes the fate of Aboriginal art

“End of an Era,” proclaimed the staccato media statement sent out earlier this month by Melbourne’s Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, long the starriest and best-known name on the commercial Aboriginal art scene — and for once the hype was right. The closure of the gallery after three decades serves as dramatic confirmation that the high-end market for traditional indigenous art has all but evaporated, writes Nicolas Rothwell in The Australian.

Price hopes cut in half for bargain Arthur Boyd

In a sign of just how far the art market has fallen, an Arthur Boyd painting offered for sale in 2008 for $1.25 million will be auctioned next Monday with expectations of selling for half that amount. Boyd’s The Prodigal Son was painted in 1946-47, a couple of years before the artist rendered another, more famous Prodigal Son scene, on the wall of a house owned by his uncle, novelist Martin Boyd., writes Michaela Boland in The Australian.

A major colonial art essayist exits Sotheby's for Academia writes Terry Ingram
By Terry Ingram on 15-Nov-2014 (Exclusive to the AASD)

Sotheby's Australia Ltd is losing one of its key specialists - the art describer and man responsible for the beguiling text of many of its major lot descriptions in its catalogues.

The specialist must also have been responsible for some of its major consignments.

David Hansen, who is one of the four major staffers pictured at the front of its art catalogues, is going to academia.

Many old favourites were purchased but NGA gifts were down in 2014
By Terry Ingram on 09-Nov-2014 (Exclusive to the AASD)

A determination to buy which is more closely associated with its Whitlam years could be detected in the purchases made at auction by the National Gallery of Australia in the year ended June 30, according to its newly issued 2014 annual report, writes Terry Ingram.

The keenness was especially felt in Australian colonial and Impressionist art where the gallery paid close to $1 million or three times the auction estimate for one painting. Many of acquisitions will be recognised by appearances in the saleroom in which they gave an immediate fillip to the market. Long term private collectors and the trade may regret this as the buys are unlikely ever to return to the market.