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News and Opinion

Turnover of art at auction in Australia rose modestly from $103.73 million in 2013 to $106.18 million in 2014. The lift was only achieved, however, on a larger throughput with a lower average price than in 2013 and fewer highlights. There were no $2 million plus sales in 2014, compared with four in the previous year. The highest priced work sold in 2014, John Brack's "Backs and Fronts" showed a ballroom contest involving some fancy foot work – not uncommon in the saleroom - made $1.84 million.
Menzies’ final fine art sale concludes an overall successful Australian art auction year for 2014
By David Hulme & Brigitte Banziger on 12-Dec-2014 (Exclusive to the AASD)

Menzies’ last fine art auction of the year in Melbourne brought in $8.012 million including buyer’s premium for the 281 lots, selling 68.3% by volume and 78.8% by value. This makes for an Australian fine art auction turnover of $103.93 million in 2014 to date, against $103.73 million in 2013, which notably included the $19.6 million single owner sale of collector Reg Grundy.

Even though the figures from the two final art sales in Perth and one Sydney auction are yet to be included in these results, the 2014 figure of $103.93 million clearly reflects an improvement in art sales at auction for this year.

Mossgreen buys $3.5 million turnover booster
By Terry Ingram on 11-Dec-2014 (Exclusive to the AASD)

Giving a further useful buffer to its core decorative and fine arts exhibiting and auction business, Mossgreen Auctions will add about $3.5 million a year to its turnover if current trading levels from the newly acquired Prestige Philately are sustained.

Stamps and associated business would then account for more than 10 per cent of group operations at more than $30 million, writes Terry Ingram.

Russian art find in London - Blue skies in London greet Melbourne's Kryzhitsky
By Terry Ingram on 09-Dec-2014 (Exclusive to the AASD)

An Australian sunrise helped keep some of the clouds at bay in the Russian art market when re-offered in London, writes Terry Ingram.

A big Victorian painting of the rising sun, "Russian" artist Konstantin Kryzhitsky's River Estuary with Farm Labourers, an 86 by 141 cm oil on canvas, attracted no interest from the usual players in the Australian market when offered at Menzies Art Brands in Melbourne in July.

John Olsen anger as gift put up for sale

Veteran artist John Olsen has described feeling “bewildered” by the discovery Sotheby’s Australia was selling a painting he made 50 years ago for his wife Valerie to commemorate the birth of their daughter Louise. The matter ended up in court last week after negotiations between Olsen’s adult children and Sotheby’s broke down, with the Olsens alleging the auction house had no right to sell the work because it was owned by the family, writes Michaela Boland in The Australian