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Keen collectors braved the rolling waves of severe thunderstorms on Wednesday night to fill the auction room at Menzies for their third (and last) major mixed vendor sale of the year. With double cause for celebration, marking 25 years in business with their 100th auction, Menzies broke five new Australian auction records in the face of slowly slipping clearance rates and opportunistic bids from a market increasingly favouring the buyer rather than the vendor.
Bonhams final Important Australian Art auction for 2023 features a curated collection of works covering the Victorian Era through to the Contemporary. Headlined by a magnificent Fred Williams, Golden Landscape, 1975 (lot 27), est: $300,000-400,000) repatriated from a US collection and offered for the first time to the Australian market. Exhibited at LA Louvre Gallery in 2005 from the Estate of the artist, this work portrays the artist’s beloved You Yangs. Painted during a time of great artistic transition for Fred Williams in his choice of palette, use of perspective and approach to subject matter. Williams' innovations were celebrated and in 1975 he was invited to hold a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York - the first Australian to be given such an honour. Bonhams’ Head of Sale, Australian Art, Alex Clark says ‘It’s an exceptional work in the flesh that, as the title suggests, has a luminous presence. From a distance, the soft palette appears muted, though the closer you are drawn in, the more you recognise the wild brush strokes of exotic purples, yellows, greens and reds in the foreground which without contemplation can be overlooked.
Ian Fairweather’s Street in Soochow 1948 (lot 8) belied its humble 21 x 21 cm size and its pencil and gouache medium to bring a sense of auction delight and double its pre-sale estimate at Deutscher and Hackett’s ‘Important Australian + International Fine Art’ final sale of the year in Sydney, 22 November 2023, selling for $70,000 after spirited bidding.
Art + Object were the first cab off the rank this week for the last round of New Zealand art auctions for 2023. All eyes were on their Important Paintings and Contemporary Art sale on 21 November to provide a bit of a litmus test for market sentiment. This time last year, the market was still going strong but 12 months on, many would agree things have definitely become tougher in both the primary and secondary art markets.
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