How to Build your own Museum Quality Art Collection

Buying art can be emotional and impulsive, leading to serious buyer’s remorse, especially when succumbed to on an exotic holiday, a cruise ship or in so-called art investment schemes – we have seen the dire consequences more than once. 

Well, where you buy may be as important as what you buy, as it is the environment that makes all the difference. That is why we have long promoted the benefits of looking at the artworks which appear in Australia’s best fine art auction houses.

Of the millions of artworks potentially for sale in any given year in Australia, perhaps just 2,000 make the grade to be included in this environment, and this rigorous filtering gives us the selection of the best of the best. 

No surprise then that this is also the environment where Australia’s most astute private collectors, museums and art dealers will look to secure the best art. 

It is by buying (mostly) in the fine art auction room that we have assisted our clients build wonderful and highly personal, yet museum quality collections. As for the budget: Some of our collectors enjoy unlimited funds, while we helped build other collections over time for less than $250,000. 

We take our role as art advisors seriously and also enjoy it greatly, especially when viewing the extraordinary Australian art being offered at Smith & Singer and Deutscher + Hackett in the coming days. 

The Smith & Singer cover lot (lot 22) is this luminous, glorious and rare early Arthur Streeton, “Sunlight at the Camp”, 1894, oil on canvas, 31 x 60.7 cm, with estimates of $1,000,000 to $1,500,000. Expect fierce competition. 

Arthur Streeton. Art aucton  

Cressida Campbell’s woodblock print on paper “Burley Griffin House, Avalon”, 1999, 67 x 119 cm, will also be fought over, given the artist’s appeal and market. Estimates for lot 7 at Smith & Singer are $140,000 to $180,000. 

Cressida Campbell

This wonderfully quirky and historically important painting from one Australia’s most beloved series of art is on offer at Deutscher + Hackett, Charles Blackman’s “Alice in Wonderland”. Lot 10, “Which Way, Which Way?”, 1956, tempera and oil on composition board, 122 x 121.5 cm, is estimated at $1,000,000 to $1,500,000. 

Charles Blackman

Deutscher + Hackett’s cover lot is from another famous Australian impressionist who was friends with Vincent van Gogh, learnt from Claude Monet and taught Henri Matisse: John Peter Russell’s “Cruach en Mahr, Matin, Belle-Ile-en-Mer, c1905, oil on canvas, 60.5 x 73.5 cm (lot 11). Estimates are $1,500,000 to $2,500,000.

John Peter Russell

To view the entire auction offering, click on the links here:

Smith & Singer and Deutscher + Hackett.

The Smith & Singer auction is held on Wednesday, 17 April, in Sydney. The viewing is at 30 Queen Street, Woollahra, until 17 April 2024. 

The Deutscher + Hackett auction will take place on 24 April in Melbourne, and viewing there is from 18 – 23 April 2024 at 105 Commercial Road, South Yarra. 

If you would like to start or continue your art journey with us, get in touch. You can ring David on 0466 313 095 or email us on