Supplied, 10 November 2009

For the last decade, the November round of auctions has traditionally been the weakest.  This is not the case with Sotheby’s offering on 23rd November.

It is a treat to see so many works fresh to the market appearing for sale in the November round, with a highlight piece being the 1888 Charles Conder Centennial Choir at Sorrento (Lot 28).  The tiny panel with the large estimate of $250,000-350,000 will no doubt attract serious bidding, as works such as this are rare to the open market.

Sotheby’s have managed to source some significant paintings from offshore.  Ethel Carrick Fox’s High tide at St. Malô (Lot 30) (estimate $120,000 - $150,000) and John Peter Russell’s Remorqueur sur la Seine (Lot 29) (estimate $200,000-$300,000), both hail from private collections in France and have not been seen in Australia before. 

Nine paintings by Roy de Maistre from three different UK vendors also grace the sale.  Five of these works are from the collection of Francis Elek, a close friend of the artist.  Another close friend of de Maistre was Francis Bacon - Francis Bacon’s Queensberry Mews Studio, (Lot 53) painted by the artist in 1930, his first year in London is a significant piece from this collection (estimate $50,000 – 70,000).

The Sotheby’s brand name has always managed to draw pre-eminent collections and this is evident in this sale.  The Collection of the late Dr and Mrs D. R. Scheumack. exemplifies this, featuring works by Gruner, Phillips Fox, Dobell, Carrick Fox and  Streeton , among others.  Works from the Collection of Basil Sellers AM offer a selection of modern masters, including a magical  Fred William's Fire Burning on the Ridge, 1969, Lot 36) (estimate $500,000 -700,000).  A significant Drysdale entitled Evening (Lot 31) purchased from Macquarie Galleries from Drysdale’s sell-out exhibition of 1945 and secured from the late Jacqueline Crookston’s collection will be keenly sought by collectors, as will ‘The Aeroplane’ (Lot 37) (estimate  $250,000 -350,000).

The sale is by no means limited to the traditional, or the conservative taste, with some exciting and potentially controversial works by Adam Cullen and Brett Whiteley on offer.  Cullen’s Beezlebozo (Lubricated Goat) (Lot 78) and We Can Be Heroes (Lot 73) and Whiteley’s Study For Glimpses In Spencil's Mirror, (Lot 69) originally from the collection of his long time partner, Janice Spencer, all have a pre-auction estimate of $15,000-20,000 and should command considerable comment and interest.  Untitled (Denon Study) (Lot 75) from the highly collectible Ricky Swallow should also attract keen bidding with a $14,000-18,000 estimate.  Robert Macpherson‘s curious and challenging ‘Mayfair Breakfast, Dinner + Tea For Old RR (Lot 76) with a substantial $40,000-50,000 estimate will be highly prized by collectors and compels the viewer to find out just that little bit more about the artist’s influences – Malevich, Soviet Suprematists and his favourite Brisbane sandwich bar -  the Mayfair!

 A raft of fresh items with impeccable provenance, together with the support of extensive, and expansive research should ensure the November 23rd auction to be a fitting last hurrah for the house under it’s current stewardship.