Prior Years Archive:

It's tough to canvas an opinion

Who do you call when someone disparages your Degas, pooh-poohs your Picasso or disses your Dali? Until recently, authenticating an artwork was pretty straightforward. But in the wake of a series of high profile and very costly court cases in Australia and overseas, experts are going to ground, with ramifications not only for artists and collectors, but also for our major art galleries.


WA treasure: Popular artist Robert Juniper dies aged 83

Juniper was a painter, illustrator, art teacher, sculptor and printmaker.  He received a Member of the Order of Australia honour in 2011 for services to the visual arts. Juniper said at the time that he was "chuffed'' to receive the accolade. Born in the Wheatbelt town of Merredin in 1929, Robert Litchfield Juniper studied commercial art and industrial design at Beckenham School of Art in England.


In a year in which total market turnover fell 4.69 per cent from $99.91 to $95.21 million, Sotheby's lifted its sales by $4.73 million to $21 million.
By Terry Ingram on 15-Dec-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

The year in review: Sotheby's on the up and up, while others stay put

No wonder the company is now aiming for the skies.  The latest Australian Art Sales Digest annual art auction turnover figures appear to support the confidence which has led Sotheby's Australia to announce a move to swish new tower block accommodation in the centre of Melbourne's CBD.


In 2014 Sotheby's Australia will move to its permanent new city home at levels seven and eight of the strata office building at 41 Exhibition Street for what will eventually become the Melbourne headquarters of the up-market auction house. The futuristic building is being developed by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects.
By Terry Ingram on 11-Dec-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Sotheby's and the city

Major art and antique auctions are to be held again in the Melbourne CBD with regularity after decades of almost complete absence, writes Terry Ingram

Just as the first Christmas decorations were going up a set of five gelatin prints showing the infamous Cottingley fairies were offered at an Antiques & Interiors auction in Sydney's Beaconsfield on November 25, on behalf of a vendor from the North Shore suburb of Wahronga.
By Terry Ingram on 10-Dec-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Hoax Fairies fly in Beaconsfield

Just as the first Christmas decorations were going up, the earliest of this year's seasonal  visitors from Never Never land were sighted in a saleroom in Sydney's Beaconsfield.


Top End secret artists' business

In the early days of the Papunya Tula painting movement, which gave rise to much of modern Aboriginal art as we know it, spirituality, law and culture flowed forth. Artists painted with abandon, not imagining their work would be widely shown. Images of dreamings, sacred objects and secret ceremonies made their way from the natural, often immoveable or erasable surfaces they once occupied, and on to materials such as masonite, chipboard and even asbestos.

Ten delightful large woodblock prints by Torii Kotondo, discovered by auctioneer Martin Farrah in the vendor's garage made for a very pleasant sojourn into 1930s Japan, with <i>Morning Hair</i> 1931 (lot 90) selling for $17,000 hammer, on estimates of $4,000-6,000, the highest price of the collection.
By David Hulme & Brigitte Banziger on 07-Dec-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Woodblock prints on auction block at Menzies final sale for 2012

Menzies sale of Important Australian and International Fine Paintings and Sculpture wrapped up the last of the major auctions for the year. Phone and book bidders took home the lion’s share of the spoils.

Walter Withers' 1893 oil on canvas titled <i>Seeking for Gold - Cradling</i>, a gem of the late Heidelberg period and once a piece of Victorian-owned heritage, has been bedded down north of the border at the Art Gallery of NSW, with the work donated to the gallery by the Australian Securities Exchange ( ASX).
By Terry Ingram on 05-Dec-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Generous ASX gift

A gem of the late Heidelberg period has joined the collection of the Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW) and been lost to the art market for good thanks to the Australian sharebroking industry.

it means that Victoria misses out , however, as a piece of once Victorian owned heritage is bedded down north of  the border with  Walter Withers' 1893 oil on canvas titled Seeking for Gold - Cradling donated to the gallery by the Australian Securities Exchange ( ASX).

A pacey race fueled by a multitude of bidders greeted lot 1, Cyril Power’s <i>The Tube Station</i>. Participation stretched across the room, phone and book in the scramble to capture the linocut and it was finally secured with a record bid for the image of $48,000 hammer, more than doubling its previous result.
By Sophie Ullin on 03-Dec-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Power Surge for Prints and Contemporary has the edge over modern at Deutscher + Hackett November sale.

On a warm spring night in a packed room emanating a palpable buzz, the portents were favourable for Deutscher and Hackett's year end sale.  Out of the blocks, the prints by Cyril Powers surged and Ethel Spowers flew, and in their wake Contemporary art was  met with discernable interest and spirited bidding. 


The art of Australia: coast to coast culture

Before my trip this summer, Aboriginal art meant little to me – but going to Australia has a way of changing your preconceptions and opening you up to new experiences. Flying out of the tropical heat of Darwin in an alarmingly tiny plane and landing 250 miles east, in Australia’s Aboriginal and wildlife wilderness, I expected to find the kind of desert scenery you see in photos of Uluru . There was my first preconception shattered. Arnhem Land is a 37,000-square-mile expanse, north of Kakadu National Park , of grasslands, flood plains and rainforest. The area I was to explore has had an Aboriginal presence for at least 40,000 years and, as a registered sacred site owned by the Aboriginal people, offers entry by permit only. While many visitors come to hunt and fish, art-lovers like me come because it is honeycombed with caves containing thousands of paintings, some thought to date back 20,000 years.


Market faces blue period as investors give the brush-off

Oliver Rees collects Australian art as an investment and to support the local arts industry. But new superannuation rules will force him to sell part of his collection of 19th century watercolours and paintings by Sidney Nolan and John Coburn. ''The cost of maintaining these assets outweighs any likely return I'll get,'' Mr Rees said. ''Collecting art doesn't make sense as an investment now because of the change in regulations.''



Collectors, artists and lawyers - Fear of litigation is hobbling the art market

At a Christie’s auction in New York this month, a painting known as Ocean Park #48 fetched $13.5m, a record for a work by Richard Diebenkorn, a Californian artist who died in 1993. The 1971 abstract painting had been certified as genuine by the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation in Berkeley. Less fortunate are the owners of more than 200 purported Diebenkorn paintings and drawings that the foundation declined to certify. Since an unauthenticated picture is not worth nearly as much, three owners got their lawyers to send threatening letters.

Image: Francis Bacon’s, Figure at a Basin, 1978, estimate $14,000-18,000 should satisfy any number of viewers from the AGNSW exhibition who wanted to take a work home with them.
By David Hulme & Brigitte Banziger on 24-Nov-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Menzies Sale of 6 December: Size Does Matter

Rex Irwin is not alone in promoting Francis Bacon prints on the back of the AGNSW show. Menzies 6th December sale in Sydney offers us Figure at a Basin 1978 (lot 11), estimate $14,000-18,000. This pained and colourful work which was once part of the William Bowmore collection should satisfy any number of viewers from the AGNSW show who wanted to take a work home with them. The etching is also a very manageable 47 x 36 cm – unlike the majority of his oils at the AGNSW.



Barry Colman’s Hotere collection sells for $250,000

Former National Business Review publisher Barry Colman’s rare collection of Ralph Hotere paintings fetched $250,000 at auction last night. The flagship piece, Vive Aramoana, sold for $183,000, beyond the estimated $140,000 to $160,000 price range, at the International Art Centre in Parnell.

Good works that were fresh to market all sold well, including Jeffrey Smart’s 1974 masterpiece, <i>Reflected Arrows</i>. A number of bidders jostled to secure the work, giving the auctioneer plenty of opportunity to direct its sale with generous increments, with the work selling for double its low estimate ($324,000 IBP).
Supplied, 22 November 2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Strong performance delivered at the final sale in Sotheby’s High Street salerooms.

Sotheby’s Australia saleroom was half filled for Tuesday evening’s Important Australian & International Art auction. In his preamble, auctioneer Martin Gallon announced it was the final Australian art sale to be conducted at their High Street premises, Sotheby’s home since the late 1980s. Geoffrey Smith will be relocating the company to new Melbourne CBD premises in December.


Bromley fans locked out

If proof were needed that artist David Bromley has broad appeal, it was found in Melbourne on Sunday. Held on site at Bromley’s former Melbourne studio in Chapel Street, South Yarra, Leonard Joel’s sale of the contents of the artist’s studio grossed $805,250 – well above its $472,650 to $720,400 pre-sale estimate – and $982,000, including buyer’s premium.


Apple Isle artist the perfect buyer

Contemporary landscape artist Philip Wolfhagen bought the cover lot in Mossgreen Auctions’ sale of the Ruth and John Clemente Collection in Hobart on November 11. Excited and unrecognised, Wolfhagen left soon after bidding $95,160, including buyer’s premium, for the sale highlight, Portrait of the Walker Children by Benjamin ­Duterrau. The hammer price was towards the bottom end of the colonial oil on canvas’s $80,000 to $100,000 estimate.


Sidney Nolan's Ned Kelly: Crossing the River sells for almost $1m at auction

ONE of Sidney Nolan's classic Ned Kelly series of paintings has been sold at auction for close to $1 million. Auction house Sotheby's said it was delighted with the results from its offering of 69 lots in Melbourne from traditional, modern and contemporary art, which achieved a total sale of $4.276 million.

The surprise of the sale was the $115,900 IBP paid for <i>Sydney Harbour</i> 1910 by George Ricard-Cordingley (1873-1939) in steady but slow bidding. The huge 150 by 285 cm oil on canvas showing a steamer with a lady in a long dress on the foreshore chugged past its $40,000 to $50,000 estimates to make a hammer price of $95,000.
Supplied, 20 November 2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Bonhams chugs away in choppy waters

An Australian view by a French painter who was briefly in Australia during the Impressionist period provided a bit of much wanted steam at the auction of Important Australian Art held by Bonhams at the Byron Kennedy Hall at Moore Park in Sydney on November 19.

By Terry Ingram on 18-Nov-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

The Leslie Walford Sale - Curtains for minimalism

The overflowing crowd at auction by Mossgreen of the estate of Leslie Walford at the Tim Olsen Gallery on November 18 kissed goodbye to the minimalism which had displaced the life's work of the best known doyens of modern Sydney decorating.  Some of those cold clean empty interiors decorators created in the 1990s will now be lightened by bits of the colourful tat for which Walford, who was much lauded for his curtains for Elizabeth Bay House, was celebrated.

The ninety-two lot sale, with a low estimate just under $4 million, opens with a series of linocuts, including Ethel Spowers <i>Kites</i> 1936 placed at lot 2. D+H must be confident that the recent increase in collecting interest for the Grosvenor School will continue.
By Sophie Ullin on 16-Nov-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

D and H November sale - Print power and convention breaker

A distinctly contemporary flavour finds favour in D and H’s last catalogue for 2012. In a break with convention, the first twenty lots cast aside the regular modern and impressionist favourites and instead are heavily seasoned with artists from recent times. While much of the sale is still filled with the usual fare, the positioning of contemporary art in the important front section suggests a strategic move on D+H’s part to recognize and start riding the next wave in taste.


Whiteley's unfinished grand plan

It was going to be possibly Brett Whiteley's most ambitious project - a colossal painting that would act as a roving eye, traversing the Australian landscape from Bondi Beach, through suburbs, across mountains and beyond grassy plains to the desert and Uluru. But it was not to be. When Whiteley died 20 years ago, he left only the first six panels of the painting in his Surry Hills studio. They became his last unfinished work, and remained in his studio when it became a public museum under the auspices of the Art Gallery of NSW.


Christchurch bar's art auction could be hot stuff

Bill Hammond artworks gifted to the Lava Bar in Lyttelton nearly two decades ago could sell for a total of about $380,000 when they go under the hammer tonight. The artworks, recovered from the earthquake-damaged Lava Bar before it was demolished last year, form the centrepiece of a Wellington auction, along with three pieces by South Island artist Grahame Sydney being sold by Coast to Coast founder Robin Judkins. Dunbar Sloane auctioneers estimate the three Sydney artworks, including the well-known Night House II, could sell for as much as $340,000 in total.

By John Furphy on 14-Nov-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Recent upgrades to AASD site.

We have recently added a number of new features, including search by title, listing single owner sales, listing and displaying $1+ million sales and display of images of works by an artist. click the heading above to view the full details.


Family blows whistle on Blackman 'fakes'

Artist Charles Blackman's family have called in police because they say the painter was asked to sign two works - sold at auction for almost $120,000 - that are not his. The 84-year-old has a memory disorder and his family says he could not have known he was signing the early, naive works of an old friend, Franki Birrell. Birrell and the Blackman family raised the alarm six months ago, but the buyers of the paintings have been unaware until now that they may have bought Birrells, not Blackmans.


Meadmore's captive work free to join Mexico's Olympic sculptures

<i>Janus</i> is poised to again show a public face after a 16-year fight to put the Australian sculpture back on view in Mexico City. A private school that in 1996 bought the land on which the artwork sits finally appears prepared to hand over the concrete sculpture by the late Melbourne-born artist Clement Meadmore. The Australian government gave Janus to the Mexican government for the Mexico Olympics in 1968, but the Instituto Educativo Olinca's decision to retain the sculpture led to accusations the Mexican government had given Australia's gift away.

The most interesting find, from a private collection in Perth, is Rupert Bunny's Scott-Tuke-like oil on canvas, <i>Boys Bathing in the Loire</i> c 1901 (lot 19). It was last sold in 1977 at Christie's and has not appeared on the market since.
Supplied, 7 November 2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Bonhams - A precedent setting sale revisited

The sale of Important Australian Art by Bonhams Australia at the company's usual venue, the Byron Kennedy Hall in Sydney on November 19, is steeped in déjà vu and saddled with estimates in keeping with a different, more optimistic era.

But the brevity of the returning works' recent market appearance and the inclusion of some new finds may save the 53 lot $5 million to $6.5 million auction from the kiss of death that usually greets such offerings.

Lot 1 is usually reserved for an accessible work that is guaranteed to sell well and get an auction off to a flying start. In a brave and calculated move, Sotheby’s Australia has elected to start the evening with Carol Jerrem’s, <i>Magda and John at Home</i>, 1975
Supplied, 7 November 2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Sotheby’s Australia selective November offering underpinned by exceptional scholarship

Recent coverage of the Smith-Gould trial left many wondering what the flow-on impact would be to Sotheby’s Australia. Geoffrey Smith and his partner, Gary Singer, operate Sotheby’s Australia under license from Sotheby’s Inc – the fine art auction business listed on the New York stock exchange.

The journal of Mary Ann Field contains one of the few eye-witness accounts of the establishment of the Swan River settlements at Fremantle and Perth in early 1830 and three previously unknown and unpublished watercolours of them.
By Terry Ingram on 07-Nov-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Flea-sized outlays preserves WA flea bitten past

There is a reason Western Australians may have been inclined not to pay high prices for their past. It is rat infested and flea ridden.


Australian art exhibition proves there's life beyond Rolf

It's a fair bet that if the average Briton were asked to name an Australian artist, they would struggle to name anyone beyond Rolf Harris. But that is very much the UK's loss, the Royal Academy believes, as it announces plans to stage the first survey of its kind in this country looking at 200 years of Australian art. "It is very long overdue," said the RA's director of exhibitions Kathleen Soriano. "We should know more about these important figures as part of our art historical canon."

By Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios on 01-Nov-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Dreaming of the future in Aboriginal art.

There’s no avoiding the fact that the auction trade in Aboriginal art is not looking great. A clearance rate of 48% is pretty bleak news in anyone’s language. Predictably, Sotheby’s October auction of Important Aboriginal Art generated another round of lamentation about the parlous state of the market. But how does it stack up against the market as a whole? Are things as bad as they seem?


Super threatens art of price

First, changes to the superannuation laws sparked sales. Now they’re sparking wars. Sydney dealer Martin Browne last week forced the withdrawal of five works by Giles Alexander from Mossgreen’s Sydney sale of the contemporary collection of opera director John Wregg and his partner, artist manager Judith Alexander, on Sunday. Browne did so by exercising Alexander’s copyright in images which had already made it into Mossgreen’s sale catalogue.


Forgeries abound, artist says

Wanganui artist Peter Ireland, who exposed a fake Gottfried Lindauer painting at the Waikato Museum of Art and History, says there are plenty more forgeries out there to be uncovered. Ireland said it took 10 months from the time he spotted the forgery hanging in the Hamilton museum until its owners, charity Trust Waikato, took action and had the work investigated.

Christie’s has joined auctioneers William J. Jenack in a bid to overturn a legal ruling that says New York salerooms must reveal consignors’ names to buyers.
By Terry Ingram on 31-Oct-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Request for vendor ID opens a Pandora's box

The art and antiques auction industry around the world could lose much of its appeal to vendors as a result of a ruling in the New York Supreme Court. The opacity which traditionally made art an attractive trading commodity is under threat from a possible future requirement for auctioneers to reveal the names of vendors. The ruling, over a plea for the identity of the consignor of a silver box in a US auction has opened a Pandora's box. Although this promises a great boost to connoisseurship and scholarship, it would be another blow to a market which has thrived inexorably on the investment and money shuffling attractions of a commodity without title deeds, Terry Ingram writes.



Art's auction fight

Dissent erupts in the art market over who's not making money. The auction of one of New Zealand's best private art collections has led to artists and dealers blaming such sales for funnelling profits away from artists. 
The Les and Milly Paris collection, which sold for a record $4.5 million, included works by Brent Wong, Michael Smither, Gordon Walters and Peter Robinson.


Selling art from the heart

In a major coup for Bonhams, senior consultant Tim Klingender has secured what the auction house is billing as the biggest single-owner contemporary art auction ever in this country, the $4 million to $6 million 2013 sale of a significant tranche of the Colin and Elizabeth Laverty ­collection. The couple, founders of the Laverty pathology business that was sold to Mayne Health in 1998 (and subsequently sold on to Primary Health Care), have been renowned collectors of indigenous art for 30 years, often from the remote communities where it was minted or the commercial shows where it debuted.


Temple of art in the offing as Byron beckons

One of Australia's most iconic artistic leaseholds will become vacant next month, with artist David Bromley to give up his studio in Chapel Street, Prahran, and auction his remaining Melbourne art collection. Auction house Leonard Joel will hold a sale of more than 570 works from the printmaker and textile merchant's collection on November 18. The auction catalogue will call for expressions of interest on the leasehold for the 130-year-old, 15-room Victorian Boom arcade from which the artist had worked since 2007.


Careys Bay Hotel Hoteres to be sold

A valuable collection of Ralph Hotere paintings which graced a hotel will go under the hammer next month. The 13 artworks were installed in the Careys Bay Hotel between 2001 and 2005 after a $1.6 million refurbishment by then-owners National Business Review publisher Barry Colman and his late wife, Cushla Martini.


Painting of Tainui chief judged a 'fake'

A painting of Tainui chief Kewene Te Haho, bought by Waikato charity for $121,000, has been judged a fake. The supposedly 120-year-old work, bought at auction by the philanthropic Trust Waikato in 2001, hung in Waikato Museum of Art and History in Hamilton unquestioned until Wanganui artist Peter Ireland saw it in January and got suspicious.


Just 53 of the 110 lots offered at auction found buyers of important Aboriginal art

Several works by well-known Aboriginal artists failed to excite buyers last night, with an "uneven market" blamed for a disappointing auction result in Sydney. Just 53 of the 110 lots offered at auction found buyers at Sotheby's Australia's sale of Important Aboriginal and Oceanic Art. The auction house reported sales of $668,400, including buyer's premium, well short of its lower estimate of $1.3 million. Sotheby's chairman Geoffrey Smith acknowledged the reluctance that continues to cloud the indigenous art market and described some of the results as disappointing. "It's a cautious market and people will hold back a little bit, and it's very much a buyer's market in this regard," he said


The $120k art mystery

The authenticity of a supposedly 120-year-old Gottfried Lindauer painting of a Maori chief from the Waikato is in doubt after two forensic tests by experts proved inconclusive. Trust Waikato paid $121,000 for the painting of Tainui tribal chief Kewene Te Haho, which has hung in the Waikato Museum of Art and History for a decade.


Gallipoli ship picture to auction

The French owner of the only known painting of the Australien, used to land troops and evacuate casualties during the Gallipoli campaign, has sent it to Sydney to be auctioned in the hope of attracting a higher price. Colin Vickers, director of Vickers & Hoad, who will auction the painting tomorrow, said: "Given the ship's many historic connections with Australia, the vendor thought it might arouse a lot of interest here." The three-masted rig, built at La Ciotat in the late 1800s to compete with the P&O Jubilee liners on the Europe to Australia route, made its maiden voyage to Sydney in 1890, but never managed to upstage P&O. In 1985 she took artist Paul Gauguin from Marseille to the Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia, where he lived till he died in 1903.


Recent archaeological finds in the Royal Academy exhibition <i>Bronzes</i> include the portrait of King Seuthes III, from the early Hellenistic period (National Archeological Museum, Sofia), found in 2004 during archaeological excavations in Bulgaria.
By Terry Ingram on 05-Oct-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

What is not in London’s must-see exhibition of the year is almost of as much interest to Australians as what is in it.

Terry Ingram asks "Where is Sir Bertam Mackennal´s Circe? " The larger-than-life sized figure of the creature of Greek legend is just back at the National Gallery of Victoria after being exhibited in the Symbolist exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW.  She was not requested for the acclaimed London show Bronze which is running at the Royal Academy until December 9.

The standout painting, illustrated on the catalogue cover, <i>Rain Dreaming with Ceremonial Man</i> (c.1971) by Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula was one of four by Warangkula that belonged to Geoffrey Bardon, until first offered for sale in 2001, and was the finest of the four works on offer at that time. It is illustrated in Geoffrey and James Bardon’s book Papunya: A Place Made After the Story)
By Adrian Newstead on 05-Oct-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Artefacts, barks and photographs on offer in Sotheby's Aboriginal art sale

Sotheby’s Aboriginal Art department has put together a solid boutique auction worth $1.33-1.90 million for its October 15th sale at Sydney’s Intercontinental Hotel.  The sale is strong on bark paintings most especially from Groote Eylandt and Yirrkala, early works by several Balgo Hills masters, photographs, and artefacts.


Aboriginal art dealers to be slapped with mandatory code

Aboriginal art dealers and galleries are set to be bound by legally enforceable standards of behaviour designed to finally eliminate unethical conduct from the industry. Two years after the introduction of a code of conduct, a well-meaning but voluntary set of standards that failed to receive widespread support, the board overseeing the code wants the backing of the competition regulator to apply minimum standards of behaviour.



Aboriginal art dealers to be slapped with mandatory code

Aboriginal art dealers and galleries are set to be bound by legally enforceable standards of behaviour designed to finally eliminate unethical conduct from the industry. Two years after the introduction of a code of conduct, a well-meaning but voluntary set of standards that failed to receive widespread support, the board overseeing the code wants the backing of the competition regulator to apply minimum standards of behaviour.


The auctioneer won’t have to worry about Mary Anne Friend’s sketchbook from 1830 – 1832 that includes a collection of watercolours and writings that study Fremantle and surrounds soon after its acquisition by the British in 1829. Estimated at £100,000-150,000, it is reminiscent of Edward Close’s sketchbook that detailed scenes from a colonial Sydney (circa 1817 – 1840) and realised $900,000 IBP in Sotheby’s May, 2009 sale.
Supplied, 23 September 2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Christie's London to sell 1830s Fremantle sketchbook.

Since 2006, Christies Australian Art sales have been directed by Nicholas Lambourn, a respected authority on the travel and exploration works and Australian art.


Art dealers may pool space

Prominent Sydney art dealers Rex Irwin and Tim Olsen are negotiating to unite their businesses under the roof of Olsen’s Woollahra premises. It is a sign of the tough times that two such well-known and long-standing primary market dealers are likely to be operating under the one roof from 2013. Also sharing the Olsen space is auctioneer Tim Goodman, a former chairman of Sotheby’s Australia and Bonhams & Goodman, who has a desk in Olsen’s gallery from which he trades in secondary art market stock.


Kiwi couple's art collection raises millions

The auction of one of New Zealand's most highly regarded art collections has fetched a record $4.52 million. "We're completely stunned," said Hamish Coney, managing director of the Auckland auction house, Art+Object. It was the highest total ever for an art auction in New Zealand. Major Kiwi artworks in the Les and Milly Paris collection were sold over two nights, with more than 200 collectors in attendance each night.


Smart’s work returns to its creative centre

It would be fair to say that the unique shape and light of these South Australian landscapes formed, together with my fascination for city motifs, the alpha and omega of the way I would continue to see the world through my painting,’’ says Jeffrey Smart. Last year the University of South Australia conferred an honorary degree on Smart, the South Australian School of Art’s greatest alumnus. Next month that distinction will be followed by a retrospective on the artist, perhaps the last within his lifetime, at the university’s Samstag Art Museum

The auctioneer's opening bid at the mid-estimate of $65,000 on this 1928 landscape, the French port of Cassis by Russian artist Basil Schoukhaeff created a telephone bidding war, and as the price escalated the noise from the phone tables sounded like a farmyard, the auctioneer eventually knocking it down for $260,000, and pretending to admonish the staff with a jovial cry through a broad smile of “who priced this one!”
By Jane Raffan on 15-Sep-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Menzies’ Fine Art Sale – at Sixes and Sevens, and then finally Eights – $8 Million.

A major withdrawal and a few high priced failures, along with the hammering down under estimate of over-exposed top lots generated a clearance of 77% and 69% by value. A few fresh affordable works and a Russian sleeper helped the sale tally a very healthy $8,057,598, including buyer’s premium.


Fickle market paints sellers into a corner

HERE is no stronger sign that the Australian art market is still ailing than the about-face by Menzies Art Brands executive chairman Rod Menzies to ditch a new plan to exclusively attack the top end of the market only three months after announcing it. Menzies Art Brands' quarterly stand-alone auctions have dominated auction results since their inception in 2007. Buoyed by this, Mr Menzies revealed in June a revamp for 2013 in which the company would reduce its four annual sales to three to be in line with what he sees as his only competitors - Sotheby's, and Deutscher and Hackett.


Vale Alison Harper, a feisty critic of art market

Alison Harper did not train as a journalist. The British-born founder of the Art Market Report worked for auction houses Sotheby’s and Phillips in London and Australia, then ran her own art consultancy before launching the magazine from her Sydney home in 2001. But her keen nose for a story, incisive analysis and campaigning approach to issues she felt needed change made her quarterly magazine one of the must-reads for many in the Australian visual art sector.


Second Sydney plagiarism claim

A Sydney gallery has been forced to suspend the opening of an exhibition after claims of plagiarism. Cher van Schouwen’s Art with Vision exhibition of paintings was scheduled to open today at Breathing Colours gallery in Balmain. The gallery’s director, Jessica Page, said the gallery had removed from display two portraits of Australian water polo Olympian Guy Newman after she was alerted of its striking resemblance to a 1992 photo of Newman.


Dumped artist finds alternative showcase

The photo artist who was dropped by a prestigious Sydney art gallery after he was caught using other photographers' pictures under his name is having his cancelled exhibition shown at another gallery - and the prices have gone up.  Boutwell Draper Gallery in Redfern confirmed it had taken Ben Ali Ong into its stable of artists and would hold the exhibition, under the same title of 1000 Years Beside Myself, for more than two weeks from next Tuesday.

By , on 12-Sep-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

The Australian article is 'poor and wrong' - Paul Sumner

Contrary to the article published in The Australian this week, a sold result of 86% by value for a collection formed virtually entirely from contemporary indigenous art is far from disappointing in these times.


Tepid Mossgreen auction seen as a solid start

Melbourne-based auction house Mossgreen plans to hold future sales in Brisbane despite a disappointing result at its inaugural sale there on Sunday. The sale of 188 artworks from the collection of former corporate tax lawyer Ross Clarke and his wife Rona achieved almost $1.1 million, or $1.272m including buyer's premium


A pre-Raphaelite exhibition at Leighton House Museum in London includes works on loan from John Schaeffer, devoted collector of an unfashionable genre

The Dutch-born, Australia-based businessman and art collector John Schaeffer has had his share of successes and disasters. He made a fortune in cleaning and security services: at its height his company Tempo had 23,000 employees but it is now sold. He was one of a handful of deep-pocketed collectors who once made the market for Victorian art, building Australia’s top collection in the field. But he hit rock bottom in 2002, with large debts and a painful and expensive divorce. His house went, as did 90 per cent of his art collection

By , on 09-Sep-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Gillard Government’s broken promises on art for super funds laid bare

An article by John Wasiliev in The Australian Financial Review on Wednesday September 5, 2012 – “New Rules Deter Art And Collectables” – lays bare the broken promise the Federal Government made to the arts industry during the 2010 election campaign to maintain the super art laws.

By Jolyon Warwick James on 06-Sep-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Artists resale royalties - what impact? What cost?

The current Australian Federal Government is proposing to review the Artists Resale Royalty scheme (ARR) in the middle of 2013. This is presumably to evaluate the need for appropriate modifications and adjustments to ensure an efficient system that meets the objectives. It may be remembered that ARR was introduced largely on the back of the belief that indigenous artists did not receive a fair share of the benefits of the work they created, and more generally that many artists, often described as “struggling” to make a living, were inadequately rewarded.


Gallery dumps artist over photo controversy

A prestigious art gallery has broken off its representation of a popular Sydney photo artist and cancelled his exhibition - which was due to open this week - after revelations he used photos taken by others without acknowledgement to make his work. Tim Olsen Gallery says it plans to refund at least half a dozen buyers of images by Ben Ali Ong after the case coming to light in the Herald on Saturday

Highlights from the Wesfarmers collection included John Olsen’s <i>All Around The Harbour,</i> 1963 which was purchased by his son and commercial gallerist, Tim Olsen who  paid $190,000 hammer ($228,000 IBP)
Supplied, 1 September 2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Torrential Downpour fails to dampen Deutscher and Hackett’s results

The expectation and excitement of sale of the Wesfarmer’s collection resulted in a room filled with collectors, dealers and spectators. Despite the achievement of impressive clearance rates of 83% by volume, and 74% by value, (D and H calculations) there remained an overwhelming sense there were more of the latter than the former in the saleroom.


Art world in a flap as it takes stock of contentious images

Picasso quipped that good artists borrow and great artists steal. But a debate over what constitutes original art has flared around a respected Sydney photo-media artist who has come clean about using pictures taken by others for artworks under his name.


Wellington couple's art collection something special

Where once the walls were crowded with art from New Zealand's most influential and iconic artists, they are now bare; faded lines on the beige floral wallpaper. Ghosts of frames and canvases are all that remain of a lifetime of collecting.

Lin Onus’ <i>24 Hours by the Billabong Late Morning</i> is good buying at $120,000-160,000. It last traded in 2007, but prices for the artist’s reflection works, which appear relatively rarely, have been strong throughout the GFC gloom.
By Jane Raffan on 28-Aug-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Menzies’ Major Fine Art Auction – a Creamy Coating over a Chewy Core

Menzies’ 13th September Sydney fine art auction has chalked up a hefty pre-sale total of $9.5 million, but such is the Menzies’ confidence in their business model, the auction house can afford not to spruik million dollar pictures.


Wesfarmers sells off the works of art that won't fit

It's out with the brown and in with the white. For the first time since Wesfarmers began collecting art in 1979, the company has released a small selection of works for public sale. Canvasses by Fred Williams, John Olsen, Lloyd Rees and an ST Gill watercolour on paper are among 23 pictures valued at more than $1.3 million positioned as the curtain-raiser for Deutscher and Hackett's fine art auction in Melbourne on Wednesday night.


Canvas widens in Whiteley art fraud case

Melbourne art dealer Anita Archer is attempting to bring her fellow art dealer, bankrupt Peter Gant, into the court case brought against her by Sydney banker Andrew Pridham. A former chairman of investment banking at JP Morgan whose clients included Westfield, Mr Pridham is suing Ms Archer in the NSW Supreme Court over a painting purportedly by Brett Whiteley which Mr Pridham bought from Ms Archer for $2.5 million, but which he now alleges is a fake.

An auction highlight is Emily Kngwarreye’s beautiful early masterpiece, Transition 1991 (Lot 52) estimated at $120,000 - 160,000 and purchased from Brisbane collector, Robin Purvis.
By Adrian Newstead on 23-Aug-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Home is where the heART is – The collection of Ron and Rona Clarke

Mossgreen auctions will offer Ron and Rona Clarke’s personal art collection at the Brisbane Club on Sunday, 9th of September 2012.  A well-known Brisbane couple, corporate and tax lawyer, Ross Clarke, and his wife Rona, purchased the first of their artworks during the 1960s. Over the following four decades they travelled to more than 40 countries, deepening their knowledge and appreciation for the arts.


Cairns Indigenous Art Fair is also a blueprint

Will there ever be an indigenous art world opening quite as grand and lavish again? Full-masked dancers from the Torres Strait in their finery, international museum curators flown in from around the world, blue-chip Australian collectors by the dozen, public gallery experts, a special symposium, a synoptic exhibition.

Gold medal ambitions were satisfied when Bride Running Away by Arthur Boyd, not seen for over four decades, achieved it’s target of $1.4 million, ($1.68 million IBP) a new auction record for the artist.
By Sophie Ullin on 16-Aug-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Sotheby's Sale: Long Live the Games!

The stars aligned and Sotheby’s auction, like the London Olympics, triumphed with  three auction records broken and sales totalling $6,284,400 IBP representing 82% by value and 68% by number (AASD calculations).


Boyd painting sells for record $1.68m

A painting by renowned Australian artist Arthur Boyd has fetched a record price at auction in Melbourne. The historically and aesthetically significant painting titled Bride Running Away sold for $1.68 million on Tuesday, breaking the previous record of $1.2 million for a Boyd painting.

Flirtation by Albert Tucker (lot 29), estimated at $500,000 - 700,000 is strong and bold. It smacks you in the face. You can smell the grit and grime of bluestone back alleys in its impasto. Tucker’s muses of war and post wartime Melbourne were cheap rum and cheap women and both are captured lucidly in this work.
Supplied, 13 August 2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Deutscher and Hackett's flirtation with corporate collections pays dividends.

Deutscher and Hackett’s August sale has been keenly anticipated since The Australian Financial Review revealed a consignment of works from the Wesfarmer’s Collection in late June. In the article, the Wesfarmer’s current curator, Helen Carroll Fairhall, announced the recent office refit had prompted the company to  ‘reassess whether to keep some of its lesser quality works’.


China's $13 Billion Art Fraud -- And What It Means For You.

If you pay attention either to China or the art market, you’ve probably heard the story: China last year became – according to art industry experts – the world’s largest market for art and antiques, surpassing the USA. Well, here’s a shocker: it isn’t.  Not even close. Of course, you probably suspected as much: but the reasons are only now becoming clear.


Rooms with a view of a painter's life

Years before Sally Watterson embarked on the cataloguing and removal of hundreds of objects from Margaret Olley's studio, she faced a numismatical challenge at the Powerhouse Museum: a task so daunting you wouldn't flip a coin to do it.


Well-heeled Russians latest in art money-go-round in New Zealand

The Russians are coming - but they can be beaten. That was shown conclusively last Thursday, when a solitary Wellington woman, bidding staunchly from the front row of an art auction in the city, took on the financial might of half a dozen London buyers of Russian art to win a magnificent 1923 Russian watercolour of Egyptian nationalist, philanthropist and feminist icon Hoda Shaarawi.

Supplied, 8 August 2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Art Consultants Association publishes guidelines for cataloguing Aboriginal art

Following a 6-month consultative process, the Art Consulting Association of Australia has just released its recommended standard cataloguing practice for Aboriginal artworks. The cultural and commercial issues involved in the appropriate attribution of Australian Aboriginal artworks has been a thorn in the side of the Australian art industry for several decades. It has been of particular concern to Australian and international auction houses, private dealers and consultants when offering works for sale and undertaking appraisals.

H(air) force (video still) by Baden Pailthorpe at Martin Browne Contemporary, 2012 Melbourne Art Fair
Supplied, 6 August 2012 Exclusive to the AASD

A slow fair that /speeded up /became spectacular

“Spectacular” was the adjective used by the organisers of the 13th Melbourne Art Fair which came to an end at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne on Sunday night.  It drew a crowd of 27,000 and generated sales in excess of $8 million, the organisers said.

First out of the blocks will be the Sydney Bird Painter’s Hook Billed Shrike c1792 estimated at $50,000–70,000, one of the earliest known images of the Australian Butcher bird, and only the third time a work by this unidentified artist has appeared. It maintains the same Canadian provenance of works now in three core institutions including the National Gallery of Australia.
By Sophie Ullin on 05-Aug-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Sotheby's aiming for gold, silver and bronze at August 14 sale

Perish the thought that the art auction world is immune to the competitive spirit that currently is encapsulated by the London Olympics. It is of course a highly competitive arena and Sotheby’s Australia brings forth a consistent battle plan for each round– continuing to put forward a small but carefully selected “artist team” who are able to punch above their weight in this numbers game. This winter season is no different with Sotheby’s throwing their hat into the ring next week with a $6.4-8 million sale of 66 lots.


Hidden Brett Whiteleys emerge for sale after 50 years

It's Brett Whiteley, but not as many know him. Two large canvases revealing the early development of one of the nation's most recognised artists will go on display at Sotheby's Sydney showroom in Woollahra today. The pair of untitled works has been repatriated from Spain for display in Australia for the first time ahead of the company's Important Australian and International Art auction in Melbourne on August 14.


Distressed sale paints artists into a corner

THE clearance of a vast collection of works by prominent Australian artists is set to give the art market its biggest test since the global financial crisis knocked its stuffing out in 2008. To be auctioned by Leonard Joel's fine art division in two sales, the clearance comprises 550 works from the Australian Art Investment Trust - the collection of liquidated gallery and consultancy businesses Axia Modern Art gallery and Australian Art Resources (AAR), which collapsed last year owing $1.5 million. About three-quarters of the works are expected to sell at $1000 or less. If realised, the sales could still leave a group of investors $2 million out of pocket and the reputations of artists, selling in a depressed market, under a cloud.


$5 million for unknown artist?

If you ask the experts, Andrew Philip Duncan can't know much about art. But Mr Duncan, a Gold Coast property entrepreneur, reckons he knows what he likes - and he swears that he has just spent $5.2 million on a painting called Points of View by a little-known artist from Newcastle, Sharon Davson. Art experts have greeted the news with disbelief. It would make it the second most expensive painting by an Australian ever sold - beaten only by the $5.4 million fetched at auction in March 2010 for Sidney Nolan's First-Class Marksman (1946).


Archibald winner and 'grunge' painter Adam Cullen dead at 47

The Archibald Prize-winning artist Adam Cullen, one of Australia's best known contemporary artists, familiar for his distinctive portraits of high-profile Australians such as actor David Wenham, has died. The 47-year-old artist's lawyer and friend, Charles Waterstreet, confirmed Cullen's death.


Record price for painting from Dame Kiri Te Kanawa's collection

A painting from Dame Kiri Te Kanawa’s art collection fetched a record $218,000 at a fine New Zealand art auction last night. The New Zealand opera singer’s 1998 Sir Peter Siddell oil of Mt Eden village was bought by a private buyer, who paid more than double the previous record for a Siddell painting sold at auction.


New Zealand's largest private art collection goes to auction

New Zealand's largest private art collection, the Les and Milly Paris Collection, is going under the hammer in September. About 200 pieces will be auctioned from the Wellington couple's collection, which began in earnest in the early 1960s with the purchase of a Peter McIntyre portrait, Maori Boy. Mr Paris, a lawyer who died in 2000, would spend his lunch breaks in auction houses nearby the courts, and it was there that he started picking up artworks, at first historic pieces from dead artists, and later more contemporary works.

By , on 22-Jul-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Super Art: Time to Move Forward

To borrow Julia Gillard’s 2010 campaign slogan - it is now time to move forward on the super art laws that came into effect during the recent period of political turmoil – by having the new laws amended in line with the government’s original promise to the arts industry to simply mandate new storage and insurance requirements for super art assets.

Florence Ada Fuller's
Supplied, 7 July 2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Works by Fuller and Lahey find institutional buyers

The work of two 20th century Australian women artists was well supported at separate mixed antiques and art sales 3600 kilometres apart during the past month.  Florence Ada Fuller's "A Golden Hour" painted around 1905 sold for an artist's record of $88,500 IBP at an auction held by McKenzie Gallery in Perth on July 3 while Vida Lahey's "Salamanca Place" made $26,500 IBP at a sale held by Gowans Auctions' Special Antiques Auction in Hobart on June 16.


Private trove of Aboriginal art tipped to fetch $2m

The most valuable private collection of Aboriginal artworks ever to come to market is being readied for auction in Brisbane on September 9. Former corporate and tax lawyer Ross Clarke and his wife Rona, who was on the advisory board of art auction house Christie's for a decade, plan to sell 187 items from the collection they began accumulating at about the time of their marriage in 1964.


Losing Whiteley fraud case would be 'curtains' for art dealer

An art dealer at the centre of a court case about an alleged fake Brett Whiteley painting faced bankruptcy, was suffering from depression, and ''had her head in the sand'' about her own defence, the NSW Supreme court heard yesterday. Melbourne dealer Anita Archer is being sued by Sydney banker Andrew Pridham for selling him a painting referred to as Lavender Bay, signed and dated ''Brett Whiteley 1988'', for $2.5 million, and for allegedly failing to exercise all the ''reasonable care, diligence and skill'' required to verify the painting's provenance.

The hero of the night was Jeffrey Smart. All four of his works sold with $800,000 hammer for Holiday 1971 (lot 40), the second highest price of the auction
By Sophie Ullin on 25-Jun-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Cold snap, GFC and minor earthquake all bad omens for Menzies Art Brands' results.

Inertia and reluctance gripped Menzies Art Brands’ Melbourne June 25 auction with a passive room content to let the phones do all the talking, in parallel with Deutscher +Hackett’s May sale. The ghost town auction fell below the $9.3 million pre-sale expectations tallying $6,509,550 (close to $8 million IBP) with 65% by volume and 61% by value (AASD figures).  It was struggle street along the catalogue’s golden mile and the middle market had no puff like an ill-timed soufflé. 


At-fault art dealer's identity withheld

The identity of a dealer who breached the Aboriginal art code of conduct was kept secret after the dealer escaped sanctions despite an adverse finding by the board overseeing the code. In a rare insight into the operations of a system designed to improve market transparency, the dealer was found to have engaged in "unprofessional conduct in commissioning an artwork from an indigenous artist" as well as misleading conduct over the transaction.


Menzies Art Brands to cut back to three sales per year

Competition between major auction houses for the top end of the market is intensifying, with Menzies Art Brands' executive chairman Rod Menzies planning to sacrifice volumes for margins and expand to the primary market, despite the depressed retail and investment environment and onerous rules deterring some superannuation funds from investing in art.

Ursula Sullivan of Sullivan & Strumpf with artist Sam Leach at the satellite fair Volta 8 in Basel.
By David Hulme & Brigitte Banziger on 14-Jun-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Cutting edge art on the edge of Art Basel

Although Australian galleries are not featured in the hallowed halls of Art Basel, there is one presence not to be ignored, write David Hulme and Brigitte Banziger. Sydney gallery Sullivan & Strumpf are making an impact at Volta 8, the satellite fair with 81 galleries from around the world representing strong emerging contemporary talent.

Dr. Uli Sigg, Dr. Lars Nittve and Michael Lynch (from left) discuss the donation of the majority of the Sigg collection of Chinese contemporary art worth US $ 163 million to a single museum at a media conference at Art Basel. Painting projected: Wang Guangyi, <i>Mao Zedong: Red Grid No. 2 </i>1988
By David Hulme & Brigitte Banziger on 13-Jun-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

US$ 163 million art donation to new Hong Kong Museum a massive boost for Chinese contemporary art

At a press conference at Art Basel, Swiss-born Dr. Uli Sigg announced the donation of 1463 artworks by 350 Chinese artists from his collection to M+, the future museum of visual culture opening in 2017 in Hong Kong. The Sigg collection is universally recognised as the largest, most comprehensive and most important collection worldwide of Chinese contemporary art from the 1970s to today.

At Art Basel, Australian born sculptor Ron Mueck’s <i>Woman with sticks</i> is currently on hold for a client and priced at a very healthy £1.4 million with Hauser & Wirth, London and New York.
By David Hulme & Brigitte Banziger on 12-Jun-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Huge win as New Zealander Simon Denny takes out prestigious art prize at Art Basel 43

306 galleries from 36 countries with more than 2,500 artists are showcasing at the world’s most important contemporary art fair in Switzerland this week, but there is not one Australian gallery at Art Basel 43 represented, write David Hulme and Brigitte Banziger. However, Art Basel co-director Marc Spiegler is upbeat about the prospect of leading Australian commercial art galleries again showing on the main floors.

By Adrian Newstead on 09-Jun-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Kluge’s Parting Gift to Aboriginal Art

Two Aboriginal art auctions in two days have delivered renewed interest in the Aboriginal art market.  Echoing the heady days pre-GFC, the number of collectors and dealers attending the sales surprised auction house staff, which hurriedly added extra seating just prior to the sales.


Artwork's long journey home ends desert mystery

 A significant Papunya Tula painting missing for more than 10 years has turned up at auction in Melbourne, and its journey — from hanging in a remote Northern Territory health service to yesterday’s withdrawal from sale as part of an American billionaire’s collection — is rockier than Uluru. The work, catalogued as Old Tatump and Natuma Tjaltjarri (1915-1987), was last month identified by Melbourne-based curator John Kean, formerly arts adviser to Papunya Tula Artists and the interim administrator for Pintupi Homelands Health Service at Walungurru (or Kintore) community in the NT in the mid-80s.


Seeing double on Aboriginal art sales

Collectors of Aboriginal art could be forgiven for being confused by two sales this week that both boast works from the collection of the late American media mogul John Kluge. Kluge, who died in 2010 at the age of 95, was known in the US as the German immigrant who in 1986 sold his Metromedia television stations to 20th Century Fox for a reported $US4 billion.

Even though van Gogh painted numerous self portraits, there are only three portraits painted by the artist’s contemporaries Paul Gauguin, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec and John Peter Russell, all now in the van Gogh museum collection. Gauguin’s portrait shows a weary, sick man, Lautrec’s pastel is a profile, and Russell’s painting alone has the famous artist looking straight at the viewer.
By David Hulme & Brigitte Banziger on 03-Jun-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

What is Australia’s most famous painting?

If you ask the man in the street, the most likely answers are going to be Tom Roberts’ Shearing the Rams 1890 at the NGV, or his Bailed up, 1895, Art Gallery of NSW or Frederick McCubbin’s Down on his luck,  1889, Art Gallery WA, and the 20th century doesn’t even get a look-in. But what about this portrait of Vincent van Gogh by our very own John Peter Russell? David Hulme and Brigitte Banziger spoke with Teio Meedendorp, researcher at the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, who allowed them a rare glimpse behind the scenes and the story of Australia’s unacknowledged most famous painting.


Art for sale: New Zealand auction market defies the downturn

Electric green shimmers through swirls of black, splashes of royal blue and shades of purple: the giant 2m square painting by Australian artist Dale Frank virtually leaps off the wall at Auckland auction house Art+Object's Newton saleroom. The glossy catalogue suggests a price of $38,000 to $55,000. Auctioneer Ben Plumbly starts the bidding at $20,000. Within minutes bidding reaches the reserve - the bottom of the guide range. A few minutes more and it has broken through the top of the range.

The Theodore Bruce shield is decorated with a wide palate of natural ochres. The design, the meaning of which is unknown, would have related to the makers ancestral heritage and creation story and have been his personal possession.
By Adrian Newstead on 30-May-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Two Duelling Shields go Head to Head as Theodore Bruce Dips its Toes into Tribal Waters

Two rare pre-contact Queensland rainforest fig shields are about to clash at auction during the same week. Sotheby’s (June 5th Important Aboriginal Art sale) offers a classic banana-shaped example with symmetrical vertical and horizontal clan design, and prominent boss. Its patina is alluring though subdued as if, as they say in Europe, it has been  ‘waxed by the maid’. This imparts a lustre that is absent in the pristine example that comes up during the following week at Theodore Bruce, in Beaconsfield, Sydney (June 12th Aboriginal and Oceanic  Art sale).  

Mossgreen's Kluge Collection is nominally worth $324,000 to $507,000 on low and high estimates but should achieve $1.5 million (including buyers premium). Uta Uta Tjangala's lovely 1971/72 <i>Big Corroboree with Water Dreaming Sacred Tjurungas</i> should achieve more than $100,000, though estimated at only $30,000 to $40,000.
By Adrian Newstead on 26-May-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Mossgreen’s Kluge Offering Set to Fly

Named the richest man in America three times by Forbes magazine, media magnate John W Kluge was an avid art collector. After ‘discovering’ Australian Aboriginal art in the late 1980’s, Kluge (arguably more than any other international enthusiast) did more to underpin the rapid rise in appreciation of Aboriginal art, and its ‘veneer of collectability’. 

At Sotheby's Australia's sale of Fine Asian Australian and European Art, Decorative Arts and Furniture in Melbourne on May 14 and 15 at its rooms in High Street, Armadale a painting of the waterfront in Canton in 1803-04 sold for $186,000 including buyers premium, way past the admittedly conservative estimates of $25,000 to $35,000
Supplied, 20 May 2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Tricolore flags new departure in China trade

A French flag flying over Chinese territory appears to have flagged a further - unlikely – gain for the Chinese market.

The standout painting in this sale is Shorty Lungkata’s Big Cave Story, 1972, illustrated on the catalogue cover, and owned by the same Canberra family since its purchase in Alice Springs in 1973. It is the most expensive work in the sale, carrying an estimate of $180,000-220,000.
By Adrian Newstead on 17-May-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Sotheby’s Kluge coup steals Mossgreen’s thunder

Sotheby’s Important Aboriginal Art sale, to be held in Melbourne on June 5th is a well constructed museological looking offering, with works valued at between $1.46 - $2.051 million. It is a boutique sale of just 105 lots, dominated by early Papunya boards (12 lots), bark paintings (20 lots), artefacts (22 lots), and 16 Hermannsburg watercolours (of which no less than 5 are by Albert Namatjira).

Lot 11, Alexander Schramm's <i>Native Encampment in South Australia</i> sold to a telephone bidder for a healthy $588,000 incl. b.p. on estimates of $300,00-400,000, but below the record price of $760,000 incl. b.p. for a work by this rarely traded artist.
By David Hulme & Brigitte Banziger on 08-May-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Wham Bam Thank you Schramm

Sotheby’s would have to be very pleased with Tuesday night’s sale: it totalled $8,093,400 incl. buyer’s premium, with 70% sold by lot and 63% sold by value (AASD calculations). The turn-out was comfortably large at the Double Bay premises which are used by Bay East, yet soon to be vacated. Numerous members of the trade attended, and success was assured by the sale of many large ticket works and some good prices achieved from works of less value, which overshot reserves.

Adding the buyers premium, the final price paid for Streeton’s Settler’s Camp is $2.52 million, a remarkable achievement given that 80% of the historical top ten prices were achieved in 2007 at the market’s peak, or in the boom years before.
By Jane Raffan on 03-May-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Deutscher and Hackett Re-Set the Bar and Join the Top-Ten-Highest-Prices-Ever League with the Sale of Streeton’s Settler’s Camp for $2.1 million.

Adding the buyers premium, the final price paid for the colonial work Settler’s Camp (Lot 8) is $2.52 million. This achievement is even more remarkable given 80% of the historical top ten prices were achieved in 2007 at the market’s peak, or in the boom years before. There were plenty of appreciative gasps from the audience when the hammer fell, and no doubt some choking by the talking heads recently quoted in the press suggesting the pre-sale estimate on the work of $1–1.5 million was high [i]. Instead, we now have a new record for the artist and a new auction high for 2012

[i] Terry Ingram, ‘Making an impression, again’, The Australian Financial Review, 19 April 2012


High dollar hits art market's high end

If art auctions have personalities, then this month's sales are a mix of strategic and daring. With supply and market confidence down, the main players are competing harder than ever at both ends of the local market, with a high Australian dollar luring buyers overseas.

Sotheby’s star painting has been in the one private collection since its creation, some 126 years: Frederick McCubbin’s Whispering in Wattle Boughs, 1886 (lot 12), estimated at $1-1.2 million.
By David Hulme & Brigitte Banziger on 30-Apr-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Fresh to market works aiming for record prices

Once again, Geoffrey Smith is offering us a tightly curated fine art sale of just 80 lots. In May 2011, 97 lots were offered in their Australian only art sale, August 2011 saw 67 lots and in November, just 64 lots made up the Australian and International auction. In their 8th May sale, we’ll see five international lots (lots 76 to 80) closing the evening.

Clement Meadmore is one of Australia’s most famous expatriate artists and his sculptures are on public display worldwide. Not so his sculpture ‘Janus’ in Mexico City, which has been appropriated by a private school and is no longer accessible to the public.
By David Hulme & Brigitte Banziger on 23-Apr-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Freeing Clement Meadmore's ‘Janus’

Clement Meadmore is one of Australia’s most famous expat artists and has created some of the most outstanding and highly sought after sculptures here and in his long-time home in the US. Meadmore is the subject of a documentary film being produced by Frontyard Films, his auction prices top the $100,000 mark and his sculptures are on public display worldwide.

Roger McIlroy will be brandishing the gavel for Deutscher and Hackett’s first major painting sale of the year on 2nd May, and you can bet he’ll be hoping to have the chance to bring it down on a million dollar lot - Arthur Streeton's Settlers Camp headlining the sale at $1–1.5 million.
By Jane Raffan on 19-Apr-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Deutscher and Hackett Bets on Colonial Comfort atop a Contemporary Core

Roger McIlroy will be brandishing the gavel for Deutscher and Hackett’s first major painting sale of the year on 2nd May, and you can bet he’s been hoping to have the chance to bring it down on a million dollar lot. Luckily for him, and also the outfit, they have one in the line-up, if not the bag. Their $5-6.5 million dollar auction features a crop of colonial works in the opening set of its 162 lot sale. Totalling just over 30% of the auction’s pre-sale tally, the top three are all significant works by Arthur Streeton, with Settlers Camp headlining at $1–1.5 million.


Storage laws force collectors to soft-sell

Veteran Melbourne art dealers Bill Nuttall and Annette Reeves will auction the entire collection of Aboriginal art acquired by their superannuation fund over 20 years rather than comply with new storage rules. Mr Nuttall said rules governing the storage of superannuation art collections introduced last year were too onerous and expensive so they decided to sell, despite the soft market.

‘The Gust of Wind’, the 1930-31 linocut by Ethel Spowers, swept up an unrivalled £114,050 or A$174,600 (including buyer’s premium) at Bonhams in London – doubling her previous auction record - with Bonhams strategy of a specific sale on the Grosvenor School and Avant-Garde Printmaking proving to be an unmitigated success with spectacular results.
By David Hulme & Brigitte Banziger on 17-Apr-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

New Record Price set for Australian Print in Bonhams London Sale

"The Gust of Wind",  the 1930-31 linocut by Ethel Spowers, swept up an unrivalled £114,050 or A$174,600 (including buyer’s premium) at Bonhams in London – doubling her previous auction record set with ‘Wet Afternoon’. Clearly, Bonhams strategy of a specific sale on the Grosvenor School and Avant-Garde Printmaking proved to be an unmitigated success with spectacular results.


Buy of the beholder

Few have heard of Peter Lik, yet his paintings sell for a pretty penny. Peter Lik may have sold a photograph for $US1 million - the highest price ever achieved by an Australian photographer - yet few people have heard of him. His work is ignored by major public art galleries and dismissed by critics.

Art industry insiders and stakeholders say the changes last year to art investment rules for SMSFs has hit sales
Supplied, 10 April 2012 Exclusive to the AASD

New art-in-super rules ‘hurt sales’

The federal government introduced new rules in July last year around how self-managed super funds invest in art and the art sector is already feeling the effects on sales, according to industry insiders and stakeholders opposed to the changes


Kluge collection sale a test for the market

THE art collection of American media mogul John Kluge, who died in 2010, is being readied for auction through Mossgreen in Melbourne on June 6.  The pictures are the final tranche of the collector's extensive estate, which has been dispersed by Christie's New York. Christie's Australian representative Ronan Sulich says the company has sold all other items in the US but decided the Aboriginal art would find its best market in Australia.

The sale includes three estates and two collections, one of which is of 130 lots of 19th and 20th century black and white photography, with a wide range of subject matter.
Supplied, 26 March 2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Three Estates Make For A Good Auction

Paintings which have been hanging on walls and out of sight from the art market for many decades will highlight the forthcoming 256 lot art auction at Shapiro Auctioneers in Sydney, on Tuesday 3 April, 2012.

Most of the key top lots sold, and in the $100K plus bracket only one, Lin Onus’ beautiful Barmah Forest (Lot 37), climbed beyond its upper estimate, selling for $215,000 (hammer) against a conservative estimate of $150–200K.
By Jane Raffan on 25-Mar-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

No Surprises and No Superstars at the Menzies Sale and Prayers in Thanks for Savill

You know it is a slow night when the auctioneer proudly announces new auction records for obscure artists, even more so when they come in under estimate. There were two set at last night’s Important Australian & International Fine Paintings & Sculpture sale: Albert John Hansen’s ode to Millet, In the Golden Gleam of a Summer Sun (Lot 60), which made $56,000 against its low end of $60K and Henry Hanke’s La Gitana (Lot 170), which realised $16,000 ($18–26K).

Ethel Spowers is one of our most outstanding Australian printmakers; ‘Wet Afternoon’ is her most sought after image which has appeared five times in the last five years.  ‘The Gust of Wind’, 1931, was last sold through Christie’s Australia for AU$14,000 hammer in 1999.
By David Hulme & Brigitte Banziger on 25-Mar-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Battle of the Commonwealth Artists

Bonham’s New Bond Street sale rooms in London are offering a timely catalogue titled “The Grosvenor School and Avant-Garde British Printmaking” on 17th April at 2 pm. It is timely due to some spectacular results achieved in the last few years at auction houses around the Commonwealth world – particularly for linocuts by Canadian Sybil Andrews, Briton Cyril Power and Australian Ethel Spowers. Looks like the three main Commonwealth countries are pitting their artists squarely against each other in this sale comprising a tidy 87 lots.

Deutscher and Hackett will be the first of the major auction houses to launch its 2012 Aboriginal art offering. There are plenty of contemporary paintings in the mix, and amongst these the most attractive is Lot 1, <i>Body Marks,</i> 2000, a striking and alluring work by Prince of Wales.
By Adrian Newstead on 22-Mar-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Deutscher and Hackett offering will be first test of Aboriginal art market for 2012

Deutscher and Hackett will be the first of the major auction houses to launch its 2012 Aboriginal art offering. Its Important Aboriginal and Oceanic Art sale on April the 4th includes 163 items with an estimate range of $1.615 to $2.238 million. Eighty-eight percent of the items are Aboriginal and these account for 97% of the total sales value


Art auction house beats the odds

When Hamish Coney, James Parkinson and Ben Plumbly started the contemporary New Zealand art auction house Art + Object in early 2007, there was an assumption in the market that it wouldn't last. They were going up against well-established players such as Webb's, Dunbar Sloane and Cordy's and were on the brink of a world recession

Highlights include Albert Namatjira’s Morning, Narrow Gap, James Range, which is in impeccable condition with a good provenance, and it should exceed its estimate of $10,000-15,000.
Supplied, 17 March 2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Leonard Joel’s first Sunday Fine Art Auction for 2012 off to a flying start.

Since taking the helm (and buying the business), John Albrecht has implemented significant changes at Leonard Joel and is yielding good results. His energy and enthusiasm have transformed the Malvern salesrooms and as a consequence new (retail) buyers have become regulars on the hunt for bargains.

The Menzies sale offers three Kelly series paintings, including a top lot, fresh from a market respite of more than twenty years: Ned Kelly and Mounted Trooper, 1964 (Lot 41) which should easily surpass its estimate of $450,000–650,000.
By Jane Raffan on 08-Mar-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

The Eyes of March - Figurative Works Factor Strongly in Menzies’ Fine Art Sale

Against recent trend, there are no big ticket dry landscapes in the Menzies catalogue for their Important Australian & International Fine Paintings & Sculpture sale, first cab off the rank this season in Sydney, 22 March 2012. Perhaps this is symptomatic of a summer season that witnessed the country under constant deluge, whereby collectors couldn’t be parted from their fantasies about this supposedly wide brown land. Surmise aside, the sale is surprisingly full of figures and faces (including masks and skulls). Fortunately, figurative works are a popular drawcard and the sale offers a broad selection across a range of styles to suit varied budgets and tastes.


Not-quite-right Whiteleys may yet get to show their true colours in court

More evidence is emerging suggesting foul play as two men who were sold two of the suspect Whiteleys take their grievances to court and the police, and the mystery behind a trio of paintings that appear to have been passed off as the work of the late and well-loved Australian artist Brett Whiteley could soon be unlocked.


Death by a thousand cuts, says former gallery owner

The former director of Australian Art Resources and Axia Modern Art, Vic Stafford, who with his son Matt ran both companies, has broken his silence for the first time since going into liquidation owing $1.5 million, admitting the liquidation "was like death by a thousand cuts"  and said they were "the biggest losers" and now had "no debt and no assets".


Big blue sparked by doubt over Whiteley paintings

In November 2007, the banker Andrew Pridham turned to the well-known auctioneer and Melbourne art adviser Anita Archer to help him buy some serious art. In return for a commission, Archer was to identify works that would make a good investment. Archer soon told Pridham she could get him a large painting referred to as Lavender Bay, 1988, signed and dated ''Brett Whiteley 1988''.

Leslie Walford, the man who seventy years ago began the slide away from drab interiors filled with Victorian brown furniture, died in Sydney on Monday night.
By Terry Ingram on 14-Feb-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Curtains For Leslie

Leslie Walford, the man who seventy years ago began the slide away from drab interiors filled with Victorian brown furniture so beloved of old Sydney money, died in a St Vincent's Hospice in Sydney on Monday night.

Dr Brand will be the ninth director of the AGNSW in its 120-year history and will assume his new role mid-year after finalising his consultancy with the Aga Khan Museum.
Supplied, 9 February 2012 Exclusive to the AASD

A new Brand at the AGNSW

The Australian art world should be well briefed to meet the challenge of the political drift in the new millennium.. A second" Islamist" has been appointed director of an Australian metropolitan art museum. Dr Michael Brand, 54, presently  with the Aga Khan Foundation in Toronto, has been appointed director of the Art Gallery of NSW succeeding Mr Edmund Capon who was appointed in 1979.


Successful bid lures leading art auctioneer

Former chairman, managing director and art auctioneer of Christie's Australia, Roger McIlroy, has been appointed chief auctioneer at Deutscher and Hackett. He replaces leading auctioneer Anita Archer, following the termination of her contract after 14 years' service.


Fervour for Bonython art auction

It was one of Adelaide's most anticipated auctions and art lovers weren't left disappointed. Some left with a piece of history, while others were there to watch it unfold. More than 250 people attended the sale of late entrepreneur Kym Bonython's private art collection at Greenaway Gallery in Kent Town last night.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, ‘Das Boskett: Albertplatz in Dresden’, sold in 1939 for £30, to be offered at Sotheby’s London on 8th February, with an estimate of £5 to £7 million.
By David Hulme & Brigitte Banziger on 31-Jan-2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: From ‘Mad Square’ to Sanatorium to Auction

In contrast to some of the more disturbing images on display in the ‘Mad Square’ exhibition at the NGV, there are hardly any at the current show “‘No one else has these colours’ - Kirchner’s Paintings” at the Kirchner Museum in Davos. The Davos exhibition focuses on the richness and intensity of colour in Kirchner’s oeuvre - his ‘Woman in a Hat’ shown at the NGV is particularly dark by comparison.

The standout piece is an erotic Whiteley porcelain vase (lot 80) that sensually captures the artist’s signature curvaceous lines.
Supplied, 22 January 2012 Exclusive to the AASD

Remaining Bonython works up for grabs – at a price.

The 2012 auction calendar starts with a curious selection from the collection of   legendry South Australian art dealer, Kym Bonython, who died in early 2011.


Top former art dealer faces 87 charges after fraud probe

One of Australia's former leading art dealers, Ronald Coles, faces up to 10 years in jail after being charged today with 87 offences relating to an alleged multimillion-dollar investment art fraud scheme.