Menzies Auction 19 November 2020

This time last year, in 2019, according to Australian Art Sales Digest, $71 million dollars worth of art were sold at auction in Australia. To date, it is $43 million.

However, in something of a stupendous comeback from the difficulties of lockdowns and amidst great success in auction sales, the high estimates of the offerings among the last fine art auctions of the year add up to another $46 million dollars in art to be sold before the end of 2020.

Whilst there has been a dearth of million dollar plus paintings sales, there are two paintings with record potential appearing in the next two weeks. One is Deutscher + Hackett’s Russell Drysdale “Going to the Pictures” on 11 November with expectations of $2.5 million to $3.5 million.

The other is a Brett Whiteley, offered with Menzies in stand-alone auction on 26 November, a week after their regular summer sale of 162 lots on 19 November.

The highest sale price for a painting sold at auction in Australia is currently held by Sidney Nolan’s “First Class Marksman” sold by Menzies for $5.4 million in 2010. Understandably, “Henri’s Armchair” is causing much excitement with its $5 million to $7 million estimates and speculation of a new highest ever auction result achieved on our shores.

Meanwhile, there is an exceptional and varied art offering in the last of the major auctions with Menzies’ final sale of the year scheduled on 19 November in Sydney, and at every price point.

This includes Tom Roberts’ important oil on panel of Milson’s Point from 1888 estimated at $500,000-700,000 and traditional works by Will Ashton, Penleigh Boyd, Rupert Bunny, Arthur Streeton, Bessie Davidson and Janet Cumbrae-Stewart, and a good selection of mid to late 20th century works by Arthur Boyd, Sidney Nolan, John Olsen, Brett Whiteley, Jeffrey Smart and Emily Kngwarreye.

Contemporaries include a great choice, among them a number of Noel McKenna’s quirky works in various media, Ben Quilty, Michael Zavros, Anne Zahalka and Guan Wei.

You can view all artworks in Melbourne from 5 to 8 November at the Menzies Gallery in 1 Darling Street, South Yarra.

In Sydney, you can view the offering from 12 to 18 November at the Menzies premises at 12 Todman Avenue, Kensington.

The auction takes place on 19 November 2020, 6.30 pm at 12 Todman Avenue.

The entire auction catalogue can also be viewed at the Menzies website.

For astute pre-purchase advice and in-depth due diligence reports for any lots in the last of the major 2020 auctions, contact us on 0466 313 095 or email We would be delighted to assist you also in securing that special artwork on the night with experienced bidding.

Dave’s Faves for the Menzies auction on 19 November are:

Lot 2 – Will Ashton, Ketch in Sydney Harbour, 47.5 x 65 cm, est. $5,000-8,000. Ketch Me If You Can


Lot 8 – Arthur Boyd, Irrigation Lake, Wimmera 1950, 21.5 x 34.5 cm, est. $40,000-60,000. I went straight to this one … as the crow flies
Lot 14 – Alexander McKenzie, The Topiarist, 2006, 122 x 122 cm, est. $18,000-24,000. Escape to the Country



Lot 18 – Tim Storrier, The Night Blaze, 2009, 61.5 x 122.5 cm, est. $35,000-45,000. Starry Starry Night
Lot 28 – Tom Roberts, North Shore (Study for An Autumn Morning, Milson’s Point, Sydney), 1888, 26 x 34.5 cm, est. $500,000-700,000. Surely will leave a Lasting Impression
Lot 29 – Fred Williams, Gum Leaves in Landscape III, 1969, 63.5 x 43.5 cm, est. $180,000-240,000. The Finest Of Lines
Lot 31 – William Robinson, The Sacred Rock, Carnarvon, 2006, 122 x 183 cm, est. $250,000-350,000. Bill Rocks My World
Lot 32 – Jeffrey Smart, The Steps, Palma 1965, 63.5 x 79 cm, est. $500,000-600,000. Time To Step Up
Lot 38 – Del Kathryn Barton, Untitled Girl 2005, 120 x 86 cm, est. $55,000-75,000. You Might Want To Tweet This
Lot 39 – The Billboards II, 1969-70, 60 x 80 cm, est. $250,000-350,000. The Eyes Have It
Lot 43 – Tim Storrier, Evening Blaze, 106.5 x 198 cm, est. $80,000-100,000. Stoked by Storrier
Lot 51 – John Coburn, Perfumed Garden 1976, 97 x 195 cm, est $50,000-70,000. Time to Smell the Roses
Lot 52 – Michael Johnson, Celtic Spell, 2005, 243.5 x 214 cm, est. $40,000-50,000. Magic Johnson Casts His Spell
Lot 67 – Anne Zahalka, Cole Classic II – The Second Wave, 2000, 115 x 145 cm, est. $7,500-9,500. Our Kind of Blue Wave
Lot 71 – David Moore, Migrants Arriving in Sydney, 1966, 68 x 98 cm, est. $14,000-18,000. Moore Migrants Please
Lot 81 – Arthur Streeton, Morning Mist on the Thames 1904, 37 x 54 cm, est. $12,000-18,000. Buy now or see at the now open “Streeton” at the AGNSW
Lot 84 – Bessie Davidson, Still Life with Books and Candlestick, 1959, 70 x 60 cm, est. $35,000-45,000. Bessie at her Best
Lot 96 – Emily Kngwarreye, Wild Potato, 1995, 120 x 91 cm, est. $10,000-15,000. I Dig This Potato
Lot 107 – Tony Tuckson, Untitled (Portrait of a Seated Woman), c1955, 50 x 37 cm, est. $9,000-12,000. I am Invincible, I Am Woman
Lot 116 – Jan Nelson, Walking in Tall Grass (Charlotte #2), 2004, 92 x 69 cm, est. $9,000-12,000. Very Happy, Jan
Lot 125 – Noel McKenna, Sleeping Man, 2000, 20 cm high, est. $1,500-2,000. Somewhere for the Moonshine
Lot 129 – Noel McKenna, Big Merino, Goulburn, NSW, Clear Day, 2003, 38.5 x 38.5 cm, est. $1,800-2,600. Where’s Woolly?
Lot 152 – Lenton Parr, Skyros, 2001, 91 cm high, est. $6,500-8,500. Parr for the Course
Lot 153 – Pablo Picasso, Déménagement, ou Charrette Révolutionnaire (from Series 347), 1968, 28.1 x 38.8 cm, est. $8,000-12,000. Pick up a Picasso
Lot 159 – Brett Whiteley, Woman under the Shower, 1976, 40 x 48.5 cm, est. $6,000-8,000. Power Shower