Prior Year News Archives:
'July Flowers and Wood Warblers' exploded like fireworks in the evening sky at Menzies winter auction in Melbourne on 10 August, as the 1929 flower and bird painting (lot 12) by British artist Cedric Morris netted more than $280,000 (including buyer’s premium) on a high estimate of only $12,000. That is more than 20 times the estimate!  The Menzies’ sale brought solid and accomplished results, with a 75% clearance rate on the night.
By Peter James Smith on 11-Aug-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Recently conferred 'sleeper' status on work by British artist confirmed by sale price at Menzies Melbourne auction

July Flowers and Wood Warblers exploded like fireworks in the evening sky at Menzies winter auction in Melbourne on 10 August, as the 1929 flower and bird painting (lot 12) by British artist Cedric Morris netted more than $280,000 (including buyer’s premium) on a high estimate of only $12,000. That is more than 20 times the estimate! 

Morris dwelt on the artworld periphery in rural Suffolk in the 1920s, where he gardened, entertained the likes of Lucien Freud and New Zealand’s Frances Hodgkins and painted richly decorative flower studies. His works exude the fabric of the 1920s, with a naiveté and a sensual playfulness that Menzies buyers clearly found refreshing.

Ten telephone lines from all over the world battled over this modest little painting to register a new world record for Morris, establishing his credentials as ‘substance’ over ‘fashion’.

When lot 93 was offered for sale by auctioneer Ben Plumbly at the Art + Object sale of 'Important Photographs & Contemporary Art' in Auckland on 11 August, you could sense the excitement when the opening bid was at the upper estimate of $15,000. It quickly doubled, then continued to $45,000, then $60,000, finally ending at $62,000. The excitement was over a rare and excellent example of a Theo Schoon gourd decorated with a beautiful restrained Maori inspired design.
By John Perry in Auckland on 11-Aug-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

A good gourd smashes a pile of records at Art + Object

When lot 93 was offered for sale by experienced auctioneer Ben Plumbly at the Art + Object sale of Important Photographs & Contemporary Art in Auckland on 11 August, you could sense the excitement when the bidding opened at the upper estimate of $15,000 and quickly doubled.

But it didn't stop there: bidding continued to $45,000, then to $60,000 finally ending at $62,000.

All the action was over a rare and excellent example of Theo Schoon's unique gourd growing and carving. The gourd carved in the early 1960's and entitled Incised Gourd with Kowhaiwhai Motif (lot 93) was decorated with a beautiful restrained Maori inspired design. The gourd had been in the collection of Jim Allen a highly regarded sculptor and art educator on both sides of the Tasman Sea since the mid 1960's.

By John Perry in Auckland on 11-Aug-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

A different perspective draws some good results for Bowerbank Ninow

Auckland's newest auction house / gallery or should that be gallery / auction house Bowerbank Ninow held their 6th. auction in Auckland on 9 August 2017 which introduced a couple of innovations for which they should be congratulated.

Firstly, they limited the number of lots to 100, which I think is just about the right number for a specialty auction.

And secondly, the sale was focussed on drawings, or perhaps if you want to split hairs, works on paper as four of the lots were prints, graphics or multiples.

Highlight of the second Auckland art auction this week, held by International Art Centre, was the portrait of Auckland's founding father 'Sir John Logan Campbell at Kilbryde, Parnell' by Louis John Steele. Estimated at $300,000-500,000, it sold for $425,000, setting an auction price record for the artist. The 'Important and Rare' sale raised around $2 million.
By John Perry in Auckland on 09-Aug-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

The two Johnnies Steele the show at the International Art Centre.

The second of four sales in a week of high powered auctions was the International Art Centre's Important and Rare sale held in Auckland on 8 August, and it got off to a good start with the first few lots selling well.

A rare and spectacular small bronze sculpture by Paul Beadle (1917 - 1992) of Elam Art School fame, and formerly Professor of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland, entitled Rooms To Let (lot 6) sold for more than double its upper estimate at a whopping $31,000.

Typical of Beadle's lost wax sculptures that were inspired by the figurative Ashanti gold weights from West Africa, of which he held a large collection, Rooms to Let established a record price at auction for the professor.

Each of Auckland's four major art auction houses have an auction scheduled this week, one each evening from from Monday to Thursday. First off, was Mossgreen-Webbs with a 59 lot sale of 'Important Paintings and Contemporary Art'. A Michael Smither work from the late 1960's provided the real high point of the auction. 'Sheep of Mt. St. Bathins' contributed $124,000 to the sale total of $1.32 million.
By John Perry in Auckland on 08-Aug-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Despite a damp evening, Mossgreen-Webb's does well in the first of the winter series of auctions in Auckland

All four of Auckland's major art auction houses have a sale scheduled this week in a clockwork-coordinated series from Monday to Thursday, .

How do they do it without treading on each other's toes, I wonder?

A year after buying the tattered remains of the Webb's auction empire, Mossgreen have certainly turned around the fortunes of what was once New Zealand's most prestigious auction house, with a number of very successful sales over the last 12 months.

Ben Quilty’s “2017” sold for Euro 50,000 at the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Charity auction, making it the artist’s third highest price at auction.
By David Hulme & Brigitte Banziger on 07-Aug-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Ben Quilty in the World of Celebrity Auctions

Celebrity charity auctions can be quite a heady experience. Imagine one where the founder is Leonardo DiCaprio and the entertainment includes Madonna and Lenny Kravitz. Put that together with the world’s leading celebrity auctioneer Simon de Pury, and you can be sure that you are going to raise a very considerable sum of money in one evening. Not perhaps as much as a contemporary art sale from one of the international fine art auction houses, but the Leonardo DiCaprio foundation was able to raise in excess of US$30 million just a few days ago in the South of France, by selling a large number of contemporary artworks from leading artists, plus a number of what were termed “unique items and experiences”.

As reported in The Australian, auction house veteran Tim Goodman is relaunching Fine Art Bourse (F.A.B.) an online auction house, with the attractions of a 5% buyer's premium and no Artist Resale Royalty or copyright fees, as the auctions will take place in Hong Kong. Headlining the first 60 to 80 lot Australian Aboriginal sale in November, will be Emily Kame Kngwarreye’s Earth’s Creation I, last sold by Lawson~Menzies in 2007.
By John Furphy on 02-Aug-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Scaled back version of Tim Goodman's Fine Art Bourse launched, and first sales announced

As reported in The Australian, (subscription required) auction house veteran Tim Goodman is relaunching Fine Art Bourse (F.A.B.) an online auction house, with the attractions of a 5% buyer's premium and no Artist Resale Royalty or copyright fees, as the auctions will take place in Hong Kong.

The first sale will be Erotic, Fetish & Queer Art and Objects (including two private collections from the Far East and Latin America) to be held on Tuesday 12th of September 2017.

The inaugural Australian sales will be held in Sydney on November 13 - 14th, the latter, an important sale of Aboriginal Art, in conjunction with Cooee Art, owner of Australia’s oldest Aboriginal Art Gallery, through its newly established secondary art market platform, CooeeArt Marketplace.

The 40-year collection of Auckland based Anne Coney, was sold by Art & Object on 6 July with some pleasing results being achieved across the board. The 121 works that went under the hammer represented a cross section of the 'who's who' of late 20th and early 21st century New Zealand art. The auction generated over $1.1 million (hammer) on the night. Top price went to the superb Michael Parakowhai custom crafted guitar, titled 'Tua Rima from Patriot, Ten Guitars' which sold for $100,000.
By John Perry in Auckland on 08-Jul-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Punters and collectors go for the 'tough stuff' at Art + Object's sale of the Anne Coney Collection

Much loved early Auckland gallerist Denis Cohn gave Anne Coney some good advice that was to become a touchstone early on in her collecting journey. 'Buy the toughest work you think you can manage' was his sound advice back in the early 1980's when his gallery was in full swing.

As a result, the collection assembled over the last 40 years by Anne Coney went up for grabs on 6 July as she put 'it all on the block' at Art + Object in Auckland, with some great results being achieved across the board.

The 121 works that went under the hammer represented a cross section of the 'who's who' of late 20th and early 21st century art, particularly in Auckland.

07-Jul-2017

Art thief steals painting worth more than $200,000 from Balmain home

In a brazen suburban art heist, a thief has stolen an expensive painting from a Balmain home in broad daylight. Estimated to worth $200,000, the painting Comet by renowned New Zealand artist Colin John McCahon was stolen as the owner was moving house on Sunday. The opportunistic thief is believed to have stolen the artwork from inside the home on Beattie Street, Balmain.

05-Jul-2017

‘World’s Most Expensive Painting’ Actually Sold for $90M Less Than Reported: Suit

It was rumoured to be the world’s most expensive painting, a Gauguin masterpiece bought by the Qatari royal family in a deal that had the art world agog. Now a High Court battle has revealed the secret dealings behind the sale, as a broker known as “the Mick Jagger of art auctions” sues for the £$10 million commission he says is rightfully his. Simon de Pury claims there was a “gentleman’s agreement” to pay him handsomely if he secured the sale of Nafea faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry), a study of two Tahitian girls painted by Paul Gauguin in 1892.

03-Jul-2017

Sir Logan Campbell portrait for sale after 100 year absence

A treasured piece of New Zealand art, recently re-discovered after being lost to the art world for 100 years, will go under the hammer next month.

The existence of a portrait of former Auckland mayor Sir John Logan Campbell was only known about as its painter - Louis John Steele - was pictured in his studio in 1903 sitting in front of it.

Since then, it's been privately owned for more than 100 years, and never pubicly exhibited.

By Richard Brewster on 27-Jun-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Mossgreen establishes a record auction price for a work by Russell Drysdale.

Russell Drysdale’s masterpiece Grandma’s Sunday Walk 1972 sold this week at auction in Adelaide through Mossgreen for a new artist’s record of $2.97 million against the pre-auction estimate of $1.8 to $2.2 million.

The Australian painter, who died in June 1981, achieved new fame with the sale, as the painting realised the sixth highest price at auction for an Australian artwork.  It is also the highest price recorded at auction since the sale of Brett Whiteley's My Armchair, 1976 was sold by Menzies in October 2013.

The 350 lot 'New Collectors' catalogue at Art + Object sold on 21 June in Auckland included a light-box work from 2010 by Gina Jones (above) which sold for $8,500.
By John Perry in Auckland on 23-Jun-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

In Auckland, a second tier 350 lot art-marathon produces some big surprises.

There must be something special about 21 June in New Zealand as three of the big players in the art world elected to hold their auction sales on that day. Fortunately, the offerings and locations were all slightly different. As one can't be in three places at once I elected to go see what a 350 lot catalogue at Art + Object had to offer the so called 'New Collectors'.

By John Perry in Auckland on 23-Jun-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Are there still funds in the New Zealand art market, or have they all been hoovered up?

After the much-publicised Mossgreen-Webb sale of the Warwick and Kitty Brown Collection in early May, which netted over $3 million, to follow on a month later with another art sale and expect the momentum to continue would be folly I fear, when the funds available for the secondary art market are finite.

Russell Drysdale’s masterpiece Grandma’s Sunday Walk is the major drawcard at Mossgreen’s forthcoming auction of the Alan & Margaret Hickinbotham Collection in Adelaide. The work carries a catalogue estimate of $1.8 million to $2.2 million and, if sold it will be the sixth work sold for more than $1 million by Mossgreen.
By Richard Brewster on 22-Jun-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Mossgreen hoping Grandma's Walk will set a new record for a Drysdale.

Russell Drysdale’s masterpiece Grandma’s Sunday Walk is the major drawcard at Mossgreen’s forthcoming auction of the Alan & Margaret Hickinbotham Collection in Adelaide.

According to the catalogue preview, the painting exhibits the essential characteristics of a classic Drysdale – a set of recognisable outback characters in a landscape pared back to a few generic forms that might be found anywhere on the Australian continent. 

The work carries a catalogue estimate of $1.8 million to $2.2 million and, if the painting sells (with expectations of an artist’s auction record), it will be the sixth more than $1 million estimated work Mossgreen has successfully auctioned – giving the company a 100 per cent strike rate in paintings of this value.

The current record price for a work by Drysdale sold at auction, is $1.89 million (IBP) for Rocky McCormack, which was sold by Sotheby's in Melbourne in 2008.

Bonhams 'Important Australian and Aboriginal Art' auction (Sydney, 6 June) was carried by four works that racked up a hammer total of $1.8 million against their cumulative low-end tally one third that value, and which built a sale total of $3.5 million dollars (incl. BP), well above its $1.2 to $2.2 million dollar expectations. The sale benefited from fresh and first-time-on-the-market works, as every firm hopes for, and a Nolan 'Kelly' (above), every firm’s dream come true, which sold for $430K.
By Jane Raffan on 07-Jun-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Bonhams’ 'Important Australian and Aboriginal Art' auction carried by eclectic fresh works … and every auctioneer’s dream sale highlight, a Sidney Nolan 'Kelly'.

In a small eclectic sale comprising 68 lots of mixed quality, Bonhams Important Australian and Aboriginal Art auction (Sydney, 6 June) was carried by the performance of four works that racked up a hammer total of $1.8 million against their cumulative low-end tally one third that value, and which built a sale total of $3.5 million dollars (incl. BP), well above its $1.2 to $2.2 million dollar expectations.

The top ten tranche was filled with best-performing works by modern and contemporary master painters: Blackman (3), Boyd (1), de Maistre (1), Emily Kame Kngwarreye (1), Nolan (2), Brett Whiteley (1), and lone ex-pat Impressionist John Peter Russell.

The first sale in a new series of curated contemporary art auctions by Mossgreen will be held on Sunday May 28 at its Sydney premises. Works offered are by Australian and New Zealand contemporary artists and have been created after 1970 and on or before 2012. The catalogue front cover features 'Kill….2007', (above) by Richard Bell, a colourful work that proposes vengeance for the massacre of Australia’s indigenous people.
By Richard Brewster on 25-May-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Mossgreen moves into curated contemporary art auctions

A new series of curated contemporary art auctions – the only one of its kind in Australia – has been introduced by Mossgreen.

The first in the series will be held from 6.30pm Sunday May 28 at its Sydney premises 36-40 Queen Street, Woollahra.

Mossgreen has teamed up with contemporary art auction consultant Melissa Loughnan to help with the sale, which includes key works created after 1970 by Australian and New Zealand contemporary artists.

The quality and integrity of the auction is ensured through a set of criteria that includes a five-year cut-off period for consignments – that is, all works are dated on or before 2012.

There's been no news on the two paintings stolen from the International Art Centre, on 1 April. At their Modern & Contemporary Art auction on 16 May, both Don Binney's small finely crafted work of a Kea, entitled Fox Glacier Bird (Kea) from 2006 and the large painting by Dick Frizzell, based on Pablo Picasso's seminal work Les Demoiselles d'Avignon [The Young Ladies of Avignon] (above) painted in 1907 achieved the top price on the night of $40,000.
By John Perry in Auckland on 22-May-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

At International Art Centre, no news is bad news

It has been just over six weeks since a daring smash and grab raid in the wee small hours of 1 April took place in Parnell Road while most Aucklanders were sleeping.

The object of the smash and grab was to steal the two magnificent ancestral Maori portraits of the Chief Taiaho Hori Ngatai and his wife Raure Ngatai by Gottfried Lindauer from the window of the International Art Center and prevent them going to auction.

Estimated to be worth around half a million dollars each, the thieves and the two paintings have gone to ground, and although the police originally had more than a dozen people of interest they are still requesting anyone with information to come forward.

By John Perry in Auckland on 19-May-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Mossgreen-Webb's marathon sale sets some major new benchmarks – Day 2.

Day Two of the Warwick and Kitty Brown Collection was reserved mostly for works on paper and smaller oils from their extensive collection. Opening with the classic Colin Mc Cahon ''mulitple'' from the Barry Lett Galleries of 1969 this powerful screenprint originally purchased for $3.00 in 1969 (12 for $36.00) sold well at $4,600 against its pre-sale estimate of $3,000 - $4,000 setting a standard that was to continue unabated for the remainder of the sale, creating some amazing prices for the lesser works on paper.

By John Perry in Auckland on 19-May-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Mossgreen-Webb's marathon sale sets some major new benchmarks – Day 1.

The two day sale of the Warwick and Kitty Brown Collection at Mossgreen-Webb's on the 17th and 18th of May was always going to be a big event in a raft of many different ways and it certainly was a momentous occasion.

The auction was the subject of a major build up with presale exhibitions of selected works held at Galleries in Auckland Wellington and Christchurch along with public speaking engagements by the surviving vendor, Warwick Brown, M.N.Z.M. lawyer, gallerist, writer, artist and collector.

The auction house produced an extensive and lavish 131 page catalogue to accompany the 2 day sale of 190 works and the auction was an eagerly awaited event in the auction calendar, with well over 200 people being present for the major works on day one. .

The top lot in Mossgreen’s Fine Australian Indigenous Art sale held in Sydney on 16 May was Paddy Bedford’s Untitled (2004) (above), but was one of only a handful of contemporary works that managed to lure buyers over the low-end estimate, selling for hammer of $48,000 (est. $40-60K). With a single owner core of 96 works and the balance from mixed vendors, the 193 lot sale achieved 49% clearance clearance by both number and value, with the top ten lots all settling in the $20-50,000 bracket.
By Jane Raffan on 17-May-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Mossgreen’s Fine Indigenous Art sale fails to fire from lack of focus

By all accounts so far this year, the non-Indigenous art market looks to be finally breaking out of its “decade of torpor”[i]. The results of Mossgreen’s Fine Australian Indigenous Art sale last night, however, would suggest that this sector, while not moribund, is still mired in a morass of its own making.

With a single owner core of 96 works, several of which sold at large discounts to their purchase prices, along with a few contemporary highlights from mixed vendors, and a dose of desperate dealer stock, the 193 lot sale was never going to be a Laverty or Vroom affair. And the market responded accordingly, with only 49% clearance by both number and value, and with the top ten lots all settling in the $20-50,000 bracket.

 

 

Menzies auction of Australian and International Fine Art and Sculpture in Sydney on May 11 proved few surprises but was still in many respects a curtain lifter. Small to medium sized paintings which were well provenanced, require less space and make a critical statement such as Margaret Preston's 'The Green Curtains' (above) look like holding their own in the down-sizing for which the auction provided a green light as the population ages and moves on from the large family home.
By Terry Ingram on 12-May-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Menzies sale gives green light for down-sizing seniors

The art trade has little to fear from the increasing torrent of consignments from seniors down-sizing, if the response to the to the auction of Australian and International Fine Art and Sculpture at the Menzies Gallery in Sydney on May 11 is any guide.

Downsizing has added a new D to the lexicon of Ds driving the art market (death, debt and divorce). The sale grossed $7,099,282 IBP which was a respectable 84 per cent sold by value and 87 per cent by volume.

The response to the 136 lot offering of wall-demanding large paintings and space clogging sculpture resulted in a more than satisfactory return, if a wee bit short of what was hoped for.

The Deutscher & Hackett mixed vendor Important Australian and International Fine Art Sale on 10 May added another solid $4.8 million-dollar tranche to the company’s turnover and included some excellent results in what was a rather underwhelming affair, ambience-wise. The 132 lot sale cleared well at 80% by volume and 90% by value. As expected, the top lot on the night was Lin Onus’ Riddle of the Koi, 1994, which sold just over its low-end estimate, making $460,000; a new high price for the artist’s work.
By Jane Raffan on 11-May-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Deutscher & Hackett adds two new substantial artist records to the autumn sales round in an otherwise steady-as-she-goes event

The recent Laverty sale was a clear highlight for Deutscher & Hackett’s autumnal calendar, but their 10 May mixed vendor Important Australian and International Fine Art Sale added another solid $4.8 million-dollar tranche to the company’s bottom line and included some excellent results in what was a rather underwhelming affair, ambience-wise.

The 132 lot sale cleared well at 80% by volume and 90% by value, and a breakdown of these stats account for the sale’s tenor: works that sold at or below their low-end comprised 34% of the total; those selling within estimate at 26%; and those that performed over-estimate equalling the tally of unsold works around 20% each.

Old timers attending a recent Sydney suburban art auction report feeling momentarily trapped in a time warp. At an auction held by Theodore Bruce in its rooms in Alexandria on April 9 prices of what appeared to be scrappy pieces of early colonial art soared in frenzied bidding to many times their estimates.
By Terry Ingram on 10-May-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Eyre becomes rarified in Alexandria.

Old timers attending a recent Sydney suburban art auction report feeling momentarily trapped in a time warp. At an auction held by Theodore Bruce in its rooms in Alexandria on April 9 prices of what appeared to be scrappy pieces of early colonial art soared in frenzied bidding to many times their estimates.

A pair of engravings by John Eyre (1771-?) sold for $50,000 (lot 10) hammer against estimates of $800 to $1200. With the BP and GST the total was $61,000.

Several other lots sold for much more than their estimates.

Included amongst the best selection of Australian Impressionist paintings to appear for some time at a Menzies sale is Charles Conder’s The Fortune of War 1888 (above). The Conder is among 136 works of art to be auctioned by Menzies on  May 11 at Menzies Gallery, 12 Todman Avenue at Kensington in Sydney. The estimates indicate a total sale value of $6.2 to $8.4 million.
By Richard Brewster on 08-May-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Fine selection of Australian Impressionist paintings up for grabs at Menzies

Included amongst the best selection of Australian Impressionist paintings to appear for some time at a Menzies sale is Charles Conder’s The Fortune of War 1888 (lot 45).

Painted in 1888, the year of the historic and career-defining meeting between Conder and fellow Australian artist Tom Roberts, The Fortune of War belongs in the exalted company of some of Australia’s best known works of art – The Departure of the SS Orient from Circular Quay, Herrick’s Blossoms and Holiday at Mentone, all on permanent public display in Australia’s most important public galleries, and all painted by Conder in the same year as the work up for auction.

The Sotheby's Australia sale in Sydney on 3 May was in two parts: The David Newby Collection (lots 1 to 30), and the mixed vendor catalogue, (lots 31 to 108). The highest price of the night was paid for Eugene von Guerard’s Breakneck Gorge, Hepburn Springs, in the second section of the sale, which sold for $1.6 million hammer, now the second highest price for a painting by the artist at auction. Auction records were set for four artists: Elioth Gruner, Ray Crooke, Harold Septimus Power and J.S. Watkins.
By David Hulme & Brigitte Banziger on 04-May-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Does Sotheby’s sale herald a paradigm shift in the Australian art market?

After the remarkable $14.26 million dollars achieved at Sotheby’s sale of important Australian art in Sydney yesterday, one might well ask whether we have just seen a paradigm shift in the Australian art market.

By any definition, exceeding the high end of the estimates for any fine art sale by close to $2 million is a big ask, especially when 25% of the lots remain unsold on the evening.

Specialists at Deutscher and Hackett are expecting a new auction record for Lin Onus when a monumental work by the artist comes up for sale in Sydney on 10 May. 'Riddle of the Koi', 1994 was released from the artist's estate in 2016 for a touring exhibition when it was bought by a private collector in Sydney. Its return to the market also marks its auction debut.
By John Furphy on 27-Apr-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Lin Onus work likely to set a new auction record for the artist

Specialists at Deutscher and Hackett are expecting a new auction record for Lin Onus when a monumental work by the artist comes up for sale in Sydney on 10 May.

Riddle of the Koi, 1994 (lot 10) was released from the artist's estate in 2016 for a touring exhibition when it was bought by a private collector in Sydney. Its return to the market also marks its auction debut.

The painting is one of Onus' celebrated and highly-prized 'watery landscapes', though one of the few that seem so obviously inspired by his residency in Yokohama in 1989 - with the inclusion of the wonderfully decorative 'Koi' fish so prevalent in Japanese garden ponds.

At 2 x 4 metres the diptych is a major work, rich in detail and immensely appealing. With an estimate of $450,000-650,000 the work will likely sell for more than the artist's current auction record as recorded by the Australian Art Sales Digest, set in 2015 by Frogs on Waterlilies (which is one quarter the size of the current work) from the David Clarke Collection at Sotheby's Australia for $512,400 IBP.

With the recent theft of two paintings by Gottfried Lindauer fresh in the minds of those in the art world, Mossgreen-Webb's had two fine paintings by Charles F. Goldie on offer in their sale of Important Paintings and Contemporary Art in Auckland on 11 April. As expected they were the highlight of the show, selling to the same buyer for just under $1.2 million (hammer) with Ka Pai Te Kai Paipa, Portrait of Te Hei, A Maori Chieftainess (above) achieving $740,000 hammer against estimates of $500K to $700K.
By John Perry in Auckland on 12-Apr-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Good old Goldie does it again and steals the show at Mossgreen-Webb's.

With the recent theft of two paintings by Gottfried Lindauer fresh in the minds of those in the art world, Mossgreen-Webb's had two fine paintings by Charles F. Goldie on offer in their sale of Important Paintings and Contemporary Art in Auckland on 11 April, and without a shadow of doubt they certainly stole the show attracting serious bidding from all quarters. Mossgreen-Webb's had compiled an extensive catalogue of 102 works including the sell down of yet another art buying collective, this one the Art Capers Collection.

10-Apr-2017

Gottfried Lindauer painting sets record at art auction in Wellington

An unrecorded painting by famous New Zealand artist Gottfried Lindauer has sold at a record price in an auction on Wednesday. The portrait of Chief Renata Kawepo sold for $227,000 on Wednesday night at Dunbar Sloane. The previous highest price a Lindauer portrait sold for was $198,000 in 2000.  Dunbar Sloane director of fine and applied art Helena Walker said the painting was bought by a direct descendant of the sitter. "It couldn't be going to a better home," she said. The painting was sold with the original purchase receipt signed by Lindauer.

09-Apr-2017

Radical religious messages left on website of art auction house Dunbar Sloane

Dunbar Sloane, New Zealand's prestigious art auction house, got a raw deal when its homepage, was hacked on Saturday. Messages "to the sons of monkeys and pigs" were left on the homepages at dunbarsloane.co.nz and dunbarsloane.com. The auction house uses both domain names in its promotions. "This hacked [sic] is dedicated to the Palestinian People," the site read at 5pm. "Your security is very low," the message said. It appeared alongside the tagline "hacked by #ShysterAngel. "Israhell does not have a presence we will continue to hacked your site because you are our enemies," it said. Several images of Middle Eastern conflict anchor the hacked page, sitting under rows of Arabic text.

09-Apr-2017

Mystery bid to take Goldie masterpiece out of New Zealand

The New Zealand Government is considering a bid by a mystery buyer to take one of the country's most celebrated historical artist's paintings offshore.The Ministry of Culture and Heritage confirmed it received an application to take a Charles F Goldie painting out of the country. It is considering whether the work should be protected by  laws allowing authorities to block culturally significant artefacts from being taken overseas. However, the identity of the painting and which country its owner hopes to take it to remains a mystery.

The Art + Object Auckland sale of 120 lots on 6 April got off to a flying start with the first 39 lots, a  consignment representing a decade of art buying by The Paint + Paper Collective, a modernist group of women collectors. Amongst the remaining 81 mixed vendor lots, the cover lot by Bill Hammond (above) failed to find a buyer, as did two works by Gottfried Lindauer, but overall the team at A + O would be pleased with the results, with on-the-night sales coming in at just shy of $1.5 million.
By John Perry in Auckland on 07-Apr-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Art + Object's sale of Important Paintings and Contemporary Art produces mixed results.

The Art + Object Auckland sale of 120 lots on 6 April got off to a flying start with a 39 lot consignment representing the decade of art buying by The Paint + Paper Collective. This hardcore modernist group of women collectors dominated the buying of the first 39 lots of the auction purchasing many of the works from the collective for their own collections.

Having purchased an absolute miscellany of ''fresh art by emerging and mid-career artists from the major dealer galleries in Auckland", one of the groups stated aims was ''no nanna art'' and to this end there was very little ''safe'' or ''conservative'' art that made its way into the collection.

Clearing a very comfortable 93% by volume and a happy 123% by value, Deutscher and Hackett’s sale of The Laverty Collection Part III: Contemporary Australian Art closed the books on the third and final deaccession from the collection, amassing a total of $2,614,582 (including BP).The most expensive work (and the sale’s top lot) was Rover Thomas’ Djugamerri and Bolgumerri, 1991 (Lot 10), which reached $240,000 in the room before selling to a phone bidder for the mid-estimate price of $260,000.
By Jane Raffan on 06-Apr-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Beyond Sacred, but not Beyond Reach: The Laverty Collection Part III

Clearing a very comfortable 93% by volume and a happy 123% by value, Deutscher and Hackett’s sale of The Laverty Collection Part III: Contemporary Australian Art closed the books on the third and final deaccession from the collection with a solid, if not exciting performance: some strong result for artists, although no new major records, and a few collectors running off with bargains to boot.

With many works featuring in the Laverty’s lavish and highly regarded publications (two editions) on their collection: Beyond Sacred – it was reported that Elizabeth Laverty found it hard to let certain works go: “That sort of history makes a work terribly hard to sell.”[i] Let go they were, and sell they did, amassing a total of $2,614,582 (including BP).

 

Top price in the 'Bowerbank Ninow Auction No. 5' of 19th, 20th and 21st century photography went to a large format portrait by Peter Peryer of his then wife. Titled 'Erika' the lot sold for $10,250. This full frontal grainy 'in your face' study in close up featured on the back cover of the catalogue, and had been widely exhibited in a focused exhibition entitled Erika - A Study In Portraiture that had been curated by Justin Paton and toured extensively throughout New Zealand in 2001.
By John Perry in Auckland on 06-Apr-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Expanding collector base for New Zealand photography brings some pleasing results.

Fledgling Auckland auction house and gallery Bowerbank Ninow would have to be very happy with the results from their Auction No 5, their 5th catalogue sale in their short history.

Held in Auckland appropriately on 5th April, the carefully curated auction of historical and contemporary New Zealand photography produced some pleasing results with the 133 lots offering of a broad range of 19th, 20th and 21st century photography.

A pall was cast over the first of the major New Zealand art sales this year on 4 April, with the theft of the two cornerstone works prior to the auction. In a 'ram raid' early in the morning of 1 April, a pair of paintings by Gottfried Lindauer featuring the Chief of the Ngai Te Rangi tribe of the Bay of Plenty area (above) and his wife Ngatai Raureon were stolen from the International Art Centre in Auckland. The two works made up just under 40% of the total of the pre-sale estimates.
By John Perry in Auckland on 05-Apr-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

A brace of portraits stolen on 1st April was no April fool's day joke

Two early and rare Maori portraits stolen in a daring 'ram raid' early on Saturday morning on April 1st. was no April Fool's Day prank in the main street of the Auckland suburb of Parnell, casting a rather unfortunate shadow over the first of a series of auctions to be held in New Zealand over the next couple of weeks.

The International Art Centre's 107 lot Important and Rare sale on 4 April was reduced to 105 lots after the large pair of Maori portraits by Gottfried Lindauer from 1884 were stolen from the front window of their new premises..

The husband and wife pair of paintings feature the Chief of the Ngai Te Rangi tribe of the Bay of Plenty area and his wife Ngatai Raure.

02-Apr-2017

Two valuable Gottfried Lindauer paintings stolen in Auckland ram raid burglary video

There was "no evidence of political motivation" in the theft of two valuable Gottfried Lindauer paintings from an Auckland auction house, police say. Thieves smashed into the International Art Centre in Parnell and took the paintings about 4am on Saturday. The two portraits, Chieftainess Ngatai – Raure and Chief Ngatai-Raure, date from 1884. International Art Centre spokesman Ian Stuart said the paintings, which were due to be auctioned on April 4, were worth between $350,000 and $450,000 each.

William Robinson's whimsical 'Birkdale Farm Construction with Willy Wagtail', estimated at $250,000 - 350,000 leads the third sale of the Laverty Collection, to be sold by Deutscher and Hackett in Sydney on 5 April, 2017.
By John Furphy on 28-Mar-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

For the third and final time… last stand alone sale of Laverty Collection

The auction of the third tranche of the Laverty Collection will be conducted by Deutscher and Hackett in Sydney on Wednesday 5 April.  Comprising works by some of the finest indigenous and non-indigenous Australian artists on the market, the final sale follows two successful auctions that have come before it.

By Terry Ingram on 17-Mar-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Fortunate US purchase boosts total from Rob Gould Collection

Deutscher and Hackett’s sale of the collection of Melbourne based Rob Gould for $7.76 million in Sydney on March 15 was comfortably in excess of estimates largely due to a contribution of $2.1 million ($2.56 million with premium) from Sidney Nolan’s Ned Kelly – Outlaw 1955 (lot 9).

The $7.67 million was achieved with 70 per cent of the 74 lots finding buyers, many of them in the room. Helped greatly by the Nolan, the clearance by value was 106.9 per cent.

The London sale on March 22 of Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art, Maritime Art, Sporting & Wildlife Art at Christie’s South Kensington is almost certainly the last that will have an Australian lot illustrated on the catalogue cover, and probably the last lot of any special Australian interest to be offered in its rooms.
By Terry Ingram on 10-Mar-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Little Digger’s daughter's portrait presages sad end to long Aussie innings in UK saleroom

The London sale on March 22 of Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art, Maritime Art, Sporting & Wildlife Art at Christie’s South Kensington is almost certainly the last that will have an Australian lot illustrated on the catalogue cover, and probably the last lot of any special Australian interest to be offered in its rooms.

The lot is also the last that offers the opportunity for Australian institutions to compete for, in a saleroom that has produced many Australian institutional buys as well as private and trade purchases. The saleroom on Old Brompton Road which was established in 1975 as Christie's secondary London premises alongside its flagship King Street rooms is being closed down.

The Australian War Memorial has announced the acquisition of 'Ruby Plains Massacre 1', 1985 by Rover Thomas which the AWM said was acquired from 'an auction' but declined to give any more information on the grounds of 'commercial-in-confidence.' However, at Deutscher and Hackett’s sale of Aboriginal Art from the Luczo Family Collection of the USA, in Melbourne last August a work of this title, and of the same size, made $365,000 IBP.
By Terry Ingram on 10-Mar-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Institutional collectors pluck trophy paintings from a market overshadowed by wealthy private collectors

The Australian art market has lost two exemplary works, presumably for good, to the public sector following perceptive intervention in the secondary market by museum collections.

This is never welcome news to dealers as they are unlikely ever to secure a second bite at them. But if private collectors zero in on trophy works, deft funding utilisation is called for if public collections are to grow.

The works are Meditating on Good Friday 1961 a triptych, oil on board by Stanislaus Rapotec, 183 x 412 cm and Ruby Plains Massacre 1, 1985, natural earth pigments and bush gum on canvas, 90 x 180 cm by Rover Thomas.

On a quiet night for Mossgreen's much-anticipated Lowenstein sale in Melbourne, a shimmering Lin Onus painting Frog, c1995 with all the wistful pull of captured moonlight proved that a canny secondary market audience is after fresh high calibre works that are modestly estimated. This painting, built on the concept of reflected light realised $60,000 (IBP), just above its upper estimate.
By Peter James Smith on 09-Mar-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

A mercurial Lin Onus steals the limelight at Mossgreen’s Lowenstein sale.

Mossgreen are specialists in single-owner sales. On a quiet night for their much-anticipated Lowenstein sale, a shimmering Lin Onus painting Frog, c1995 (lot 76) with all the wistful pull of captured moonlight proved that a canny secondary market audience is after fresh high calibre works that are modestly estimated. This painting is built on the concept of reflected light, glowing like a glass-half-full bridge between aboriginal culture and western pictorial construction. True to form, the painted frog almost vanishes in the textured painted layers.  What a gem. It realised $60,000, just above its upper estimate.  (All realised prices quoted include the buyer’s premium.)  Compared to previous Lin Onus auction records, this was a modest sale. However for Onus, the records are held by works of larger scale and incisive aboriginal character.

Veteran Melbourne art dealer, Rob Gould is selling part of his private collection and gallery stock through Deutscher & Hackett in Sydney on 15 March, 2015. Gould plans to open a new space in Collingwood representing Contemporary artists.  Sidney Nolan is well-represented as the creator of 16 of the 74 works in the sale, including the work with the highest expectations, Ned Kelly – Outlaw 1955 from the second Kelly Series with the potential to set a record as the second highest price for a work by Nolan.
By John Furphy on 07-Mar-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Going for Gould: Art dealer trades up with a Kelly of high calibre

Veteran Melbourne art dealer, Rob Gould is selling part of his private collection and part of his gallery stock through Deutscher & Hackett in Sydney on 15 March, 2017.

The gallery was established by Rob Gould and his mother in its current premises in Toorak Road, South Yarra in 1980, and in the early 2000's also had an outlet in Queen Street Woollahra.

Deutscher + Hackett catalogue estimates for The Gould Collection of Important Australian Art compiled by the Australian Art Sales Digest are from $5.9 million to $8.1 million hammer.

Tom and Sylvia Lowenstein are about to auction more than 250 paintings, works on paper and sculptures valued at $2 million through Mossgreen Auctions as their firm Lowenstein’s Arts Management prepares for a new era. Leading the auction is John Olsen’s Rabbit Warren, Rydal 1997 with a catalogue estimate of $120,000-$150,000.
By Richard Brewster on 03-Mar-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Accountant to the artists slims collection with sale through Mossgreen

Tom and Sylvia Lowenstein are about to auction more than 250 paintings, works on paper and sculptures valued at $2 million as their firm Lowenstein’s Arts Management prepares for a new era. The couple occupy a unique position in the Australian art world as patrons, collectors and close confidantes to many Australian artists and, through these relationships, have created a collection that represents the very best of modern and contemporary art.

As February drew to a close, three of the major New Zealand art auctioneers held sales in Auckland in the same week giving collectors an opportunity to acquire works of art in a range of media for a reasonable capital outlay.
This suite of second and third tier art offered some excellent buying across a range of schools, styles subjects and media.
By John Perry in Auckland on 02-Mar-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Bang / bang / bang / three in a row... the New Year kicks off.

Well what a year of change 2016 was with all sorts of records being set at art auction by the major players, mostly in Auckland. Perhaps the most interesting detail to emerge was the record amount spent on art works during the year.

The new year has been quiet, but as February drew to a close the three major Auckland art auctioneers all held sales in the same week giving collectors an opportunity to acquire works of art in a range of media for a reasonable capital outlay.

This suite of second and third tier art offered some excellent buying across a range of schools, styles subjects and media.

A new unillustrated art book from one of the world’s most prestigious art publishers, contains some surprising inclusions and omissions. One of the  inclusions, given the art elite’s snootiness about art salesmanship, is the former Sydney dealer Barry Stern whose dealings in the 1960s and 1970s were ground breaking and honest, according to the author Christopher Heathcote. Stern is shown here in a photograph taken by Terry Ingram when the dealer lived in Morocco..
By Terry Ingram on 27-Feb-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Unillustrated art book has colourful take on Australian dealers but some blank canvasses

A period rich in characters observed with the eye of the seasoned flaneur is described in great detail and considerable perception in Inside the Art Market: Australia’s Galleries A History: 1956-1976.

The book is a tribute to the “real characters” who emerged during the market's creation in its seminal years. That was when and artists still wore berets and corduroy trousers instead of panama hats and Armani suits and rode on buses instead of driving Bentleys.

 

The final sale of in the disposal of the Thomas Vroom Collection features many works by Emily Kngwarreye including Desert Flowers 1995 (above) estimated at $12,000-18,000, and Kathleen Petyarre – the two artists about which he was most passionate – and many other significant canvases, bark paintings, sculptures, prints and artefacts.
By Richard Brewster on 21-Feb-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Fourth and final sale of Thomas Vroom Collection.

Over the past 60 years, Europeans and Americans – not Australians - have been in the majority when it comes to significant collections of Aboriginal art.

Chief among them is Dutchman Thomas Vroom, who in the late 1980s first encountered Australian indigenous art in New York.

For the next two decades, he became a passionate collector on an unprecedented level – acquiring important historical works at auction, tracking down and directly acquiring old collections, buying contemporary works on numerous trips to remote regions, from galleries in Australian capital cities and from international dealers.

Highlight of the sale were 12 sculptures in bronze and one in marble by British sculptor John Robinson (1935-2007) which accounted for 11 of the top 15 prices in the sale. Highest price in the sale was for the marble figure 'Danaide', (illustrated) 1985, (after the version by Rodin) which sold for $62,000 against estimates of $15,000-25,000.
By John Furphy on 21-Feb-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Sleeping figure by British sculptor with Australian connections shines at Mossgreen's Bowral sale

Mossgreen's first New South Wales auction for 2017 was not held in their saleroom in Queen Street Woollahra, but at the Gibraltar Hotel, Bowral, close to the property of the vendor, the late Michael Ball at Sutton Forrest.

Michael Ball was born and educated in Melbourne, but his career with advertising giant Ogilvy & Mather led him live and work in the US, Canada, England, Italy and Asia before retiring to Sutton Forest.

Over his life time he assembled an eclectic collection of furniture, glassware, sculpture, antiquities, tribal artefacts and taxidermy.

Coinciding with British artist David Hockney’s major solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Leonard Joel will offer two works by the artist at their auction on Thursday February 16 in their salerooms in South Yarra. 'Sunbather' 1970, (above) carries an estimate of $1,000-$1,500, while 'Parade Metropolitan Opera' 1981 is estimated at $1,200-1,800
By Richard Brewster on 10-Feb-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Two works by David Hockney to feature in Leonard Joel's first specialist print and photography auction for 2017

British artist David Hockney’s major solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria until March 13 is expected to generate plenty of interest in Leonard Joel’s first specialist print and photography auction for 2017 because two of his works will feature in the sale.

Now 79, Hockney is regarded as one of the most influential living artists and the exhibition features more than 1200 works from the past decade of his career including paintings, digital drawings, photography and video works.

The international guns fired again at Menzies first sale for 2017 in Melbourne, with Fernand Leger’s China Town, 1943, realising $1,875,000 including buyer’s premium. This price sits more than $300,000 shy of its previous realisation in 2015, but is still a bargain by heated international standards.
By Peter James Smith on 10-Feb-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Menzies closes the ledger on its first sale for 2017 with 82% clearance rate.

Garnishing the full flavour of secondary market cycles Menzies auctioneer Martin Farrah gathered a confident 82% clearance rate from bidders in Melbourne’s fading summer heat for the first major sale of 2017. The international guns fired again with Fernand Leger’s China Town, 1943, (lot 40) realising $1,875,000 including buyer’s premium. (All realised prices quoted include the buyer’s premium.) This price sits more than $300,000 shy of its previous realisation in 2015, but is still a bargain by heated international standards. Menzies February 2017 sale is a tale of firsts and lasts, of re-runs, of a market treading softly towards the upper end, but striding firmly at the lower.

Menzies will hold their first auction for 2017 on 9 February  in their rooms at 1 Darling Street South Yarra, and it will include a work from Danila Vassilieff’s most important period, the Soap Box Derby 1938, which according to Menzies head of Australian art Tim Abdallah, is the artist’s best work to come onto the Australian art auction market. Estimated at $40,000-50,000 it will have to exceed the top estimate to beat the record for a painting by the artist, which stands at $60,000 (hammer).
By Richard Brewster on 06-Feb-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Usual strong offerings for first Menzies sale of 2017.

Art lovers who visit Stonington mansion in Malvern over the next few days to view paintings earmarked for Menzies forthcoming auction on 9 February, will be struck on entry by the strong colour and highly stylised rendering of modern urban life in French 20th century master Fernand Léger’s 1943 work China Town, which takes pride of place in the foyer.

Australian painting is anything but over-priced if a Canadian painting sold in Toronto for a record price on November 23 is what at first it seems. The painting, Mountain Forms, executed in 1926 by Canadian artist Lawren Harris (1885 – 1970) sold for $C11.2 million at a Heffel’s auction in the former Toronto Stock Exchange Building.
By Terry Ingram on 11-Jan-2017 Exclusive to the AASD

Cold mountain turns Canadian art hot and puts Australian art in the shade

Australian painting is anything but over-priced if a Canadian painting sold in Toronto for a record price on November 23 is what at first it seems.

The painting, Mountain Forms, executed in 1926 by Canadian artist Lawren Harris (1885 – 1970) sold for $C11.2 million at a Heffel’s auction in the former Toronto Stock Exchange Building.

03-Jan-2017

Art Authenticator Peter Paul Biro Loses Appeal in New Yorker Defamation Suit [More holiday reading]

In a closely-watched defamation case, art authenticator Peter Paul Biro has lost his appeal of a case he brought against writer David Grann and New Yorker magazine publisher Condé Nast concerning  that raised questions about Biro’s methodology. Click the following link to read the full New Yorker  2010 article, The Mark of a Masterpiece.

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