Jon Lewis (1950-2020) was born in Maryland, USA, and came to Australia in 1951. Self-taught, he spent the early years of his career working as a social photographer and film maker, living with artists like Martin Sharp, Brett Whiteley and George Gittoes in the Yellow House in Potts Point. He was a founding member of Greenpeace, and his early film Dolphin Dreamin is now in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia. In 1984 he began taking the first of his many photographs of people on Bondi Beach, which were exhibited in Paris and toured between 1989 and 1993. SBS made a documentary about his work in 1990. Two years later, his photographs of 200 famous and little-known Australian faces became Portrait of a Nation, shown at the Mitchell Library, Sydney. Lewis created his company Life Tools Photography to provide 'life-learning' through the exploration of nature in words and imagery. His sincere approach to photography was demonstrated when he paid his own way to East Timor in an effort to document the everyday life of its people after independence. Robert McFarlane wrote that Lewis was 'the burr under the saddle of Australian photography' because of his insistence on a pure, rather than a conceptual, approach to the medium.
The earliest auction listing we have for Jon Lewis is in 1990 and in total 43 works by the artist have been offered for sale, of which 27 (63%) were sold. The highest price recorded for the artist is $2,700 for 'Brett,' 1983 sold by Davidson Auctions in May 2021. This year 10 works have been offered for sale. Works by Jon Lewis are held by the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of NSW and National Portrait Gallery.
Jon Lewis is listed in the following standard biographical references:
Could the second and subsequent works by this artist sold after June 9, 2010 for over $1,000 be liable for the Artists' Resale Royalty? More info…
Yes, eligible, subject to the artist satisfying the residency test. The artist is alive or has been deceased for less than 70 years. Contact the Copyright Agency for information on the residency test.
The Australian Art Sales Digest is a database of over 610,000 works by more than 12,000 artists who are listed as having either lived or worked in Australia or New Zealand, and an additional 36,000 foreign and other artists, offered for sale by auction in Australia and New Zealand from the early 1970s to the present day.
Access to the database is available on either a monthly or annual subscription. During the subscription period you have unlimited access to the site. If you would like to subscribe, please proceed to our Subscription Form.