When James Fairfax was asked, in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald in 1999, 'did he ever feel a pang about giving away so much' he characteristically replied 'there's far more pleasure than pang.'
And he gave away an incredible amount. A "steady stream of carefully targeted gifts to Australian public galleries"[i] meant that the country's most important state galleries as well as the NGA in Canberra have greatly benefitted from his generosity over the years.
But there were also a (relatively) small number of works that Fairfax chose to hold on to, hanging in his various homes in Australia and the UK, that included some of the best examples of Australian Colonial, Impressionist, Modern and Abstract artists money and connections can buy.
This private collection, Important Australian Works of Art from the Estate of the Late James O. Fairfax AC will be sold by Deutscher and Hackett in Sydney on 30 August 2017.
[i] Sebastian Smee, The Spectator, London, 2 August 2003.