Exhibitions prior to major art auctions can be a wonderful way to view works by significant artists that may not have been seen for decades. The forthcoming Sotheby’s sale (28 August) is a case in point. The sale is billed as Important Australian Art and so it is: 67 lots, many of them really excellent, by big name artists. The catalogue cover picture, Brett Whiteley’s Harbour (Grey Day) (1978) has not been seen publicly since it was first sold; it has an upper estimate of $3,000,000. More recent is Farewell (2004) by Archibald winner Del Kathryn Barton, held in a private collection since first sold by her early champion, Ray Hughes, now with an upper estimate of $350,000. A lovely impressionistic painting by Ethel Carrick Fox: In Sydney Botanical Gardens (c1949) is being auctioned for the first time with an upper estimate of $60,000. Another appearing for public sale for the first time is Arthur Boyd’s Drowned Bridegroom (1959) although it has been shown in seven notable exhibitions; upper estimate of $1,900,000. A luscious Margaret Olley Basket of Oranges (1964) is being offered for sale for only the second time; upper estimate of $60,000. Almost brand new is Cressida Campbell’s beautiful Wheat Fronds and Sky (2016) shown only in Berlin last year; upper estimate $120,000. My favourite is Grace Cossington Smith’s luminous modernist Fruit in the Window (1957) which belongs to her much- acclaimed late interiors. It comes to auction with distinguished provenance and upper expectations of $250,000.
Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.
You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10