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News and Opinion

Red tape driving the Aboriginal art market offshore

22 May 2015

In a move that surprised many local industry players, Sotheby’s International is holding its first dedicated auction of Aboriginal art in London on 10 June, following previews in New York. The 75 lot sale of mostly early and ethnographic material was drawn together by former Sotheby’s Australia Director of Aboriginal Art, Tim Klingender, with a core from notable Dutch collector Thomas Vroom, and the balance (bar three) stemming from British and European collections.

While this provenance makes a London-based auction logistically sensible, Klingender has confirmed the impetus for the locale came from Vroom, who was 'interested to sell an exceptional group from his collection at a major auction house in Europe.' Sotheby’s didn’t take much convincing, expressing 'strong interest in using these works as the core group for its inaugural sale in this category.'

Top Feilding art collection up for grabs in Auckland

21 May 2015

A Feilding art collection that took15 years to curate and holds an eclectic mix of works from some of New Zealand's top artists will be going under the hammer in Auckland next week.

Barry Pilcher's contemporary collectionn includes paintings, sculpture and photographic works by emerging, mid-career and established New Zealand artists such as, Shane Cotton, Judy Millar, Karl Maugham, Sara Hughes and Heather Straka. A total of 134 pieces ranging in price from several hundred to several thousand dollars will be auctioned at the International Art Centre in Parnell, Auckland.

Art dealer calls for boycott of Patrick Corrigan’s book

12 May 2015

Influential Aboriginal art dealer Beverly Knight has petitioned the nation’s art-gallery bookshops, asking them not to stock a new book of Sally Gabori paintings commissioned by collector and retired freight company founder Patrick Corrigan, writes Michaela Boland in The Australian. 
Knight guided the career of the Mornington Island painter from 2006 until her death in February at the age of 91. She sold ­Gabori canvases to Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria, the National Gallery in Canberra and the Art Gallery of NSW.

'Snack Bar' is the main course at Deutscher and Hackett

By Terry Ingram on 9 May 2015 // Exclusive to the AASD

While the debate on wealth inequality rages on, the interest in the Social Realist school, which of course is very much against concentrated wealth, has taken a new turn. A lively painting by an artist who was very much a master of the school sold for three times the estimate and stole the show at Deutscher and Hackett's sale of important Australian and International Works of Art its rooms in Melbourne's Prahran on May 6, writes Terry Ingram.

Snack Bar (lot 13) a medium-sized (41 by 50cm) oil on pulp board became at $380,000 hammer (or $456,000 IBP) the second most highly priced work by the artist, Herbert Badham, sold by auction. It was sold ironically in an auction which grossed $4.10 million (compared with lower estimates of $4.3 million) and which suggested in sustained bidding that there are people and institutions out there that do have more money than others - as so happens in an unequal society.

Sotheby's London to Hold its First Dedicated Aboriginal Art Auction with Star Centrepiece Collection

By Jane Raffan on 8 May 2015 // Exclusive to the AASD

Having dispensed with a department dedicated to Aboriginal art, Sotheby’s Australia has exposed itself to a raid by the company’s London branch. The independently owned and operated firm’s practice of including major works of Aboriginal art in their Australian Fine Art sales was clearly not considered an effective trigger for the “no competition” agreement between the two entities.

Industry sources say Sotheby’s Australia was blindsided. In what appears to be a snub, the London sale has been put together by Tim Klingender, Sotheby’s former Director of Aboriginal Art, who resigned from the Australian entity in 2009 and consulted for international newcomer Bonham’s from late 2010 until the end of 2013.

The London sale is centred on select works from the Thomas Vroom Collection, described by Sotheby’s as “one of Europe's largest, most valuable and significant collections.” Vroom himself made this claim in 2002[1]. At that time he was Director of the Amsterdam arm of Songlines Gallery, which was closing up shop and commented that “educating clients is difficult. They have no references. They don’t know what’s good and why it’s good … The quality is not really improving ... It’s getting too commercial.”


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Forthcoming Auctions

Gum Trees in Landscape II, 1966
Frederick (Fred) Ronald Williams, Gum Trees in Landscape II, 1966, 120 x 102 cm, to be offered by Bonhams Sydney 16/06/2015, Lot No. 39, Est: $300,000-400,000

Completed Auctions

Hillside II, 1968
Frederick (Fred) Ronald Williams, Hillside II, 1968, 122.5 x 122.5 cm, sold by Menzies Sydney 26/03/2015, Lot No. 43, Price: A$1,104,545