Colonial is Cool – Dave’s Faves from the Menzies Auction

Searching for a safe haven in the purchase of fine art usually means to retreat to older art. In the international arena, that often means Old Masters. However, the contemporary art market has toughened it out and remains surprisingly resilient.

In Australia, perhaps due to issues with Australia’s commercial gallery scene, high rents and numerous gallery closures, sales in the auction room continue on in a fairly cautious manner – retreating to artists such as McCubbin, Streeton, Roberts, Heysen, Ethel Carrick and Emanuel Phillips Fox has been the norm. But we are starting to see a healthy amount of colonial art re-enter the market, suggesting that a new appreciation is emerging in the auction room.

Menzies have a considerable offering of such works in their next sale in Sydney on
13 September.

With this in mind, Dave’s Faves turn out to be quite colonial pictures-heavy:


Lot 1, S.T. Gill, Going to work                                               Lot 14, E.P. Fox, Manly Beach c. 1913

Lot 1 – S.T. Gill, Going to work, estimate $8,000-12,000. When commuting was fun
Lot 2 – John Peter Russell, Belle-Ile, 1907, est. $5,000-7,000. A breath away from Monet
Lot 13 – Roy de Maistre, Beach House, Palm Beach, 1927, est. $15,000-20,000. de Maistre’s glorious colourfield
Lot 14 – Emanuel Phillips Fox, Manly Beach circa 1913, est. $45,000-65,000. Magnificent Manly Moment
Lot 15 – Tom Roberts, Portrait of Alec King, 1889, est. $35,000-45,000. Smokin’
Lot 16 – Frederick Garling, A View of Sydney Cove, New South Wales, c1840,
est. $18,000-24,000. Hail the Colony
Lot 17 – Eugene von Guerard, Aborigines outside Melbourne, 1855, est. $40,000-50,000. A picture of ongoing tragedy.
Lot 18 – Ludwig Becker, Port Arthur (östl Ende) 1851, est. $50,000-70,000. The Devil is in the detail
Lot 20 – Arthur Boyd, Potter and the Seashore, est, $70,000-90,000. Action packed
Lot 34 – Arthur Streeton, Tea in the Garden, Grange Road, 1930, est. $140,000-180,000. Tea and crumpets anyone?
Lot 59 – John Skinner Prout, Willougbhy Falls, New South Wales, c1842, est. $50,000-70,000. Dark and mysterious
Lot 60 – T. C. Moyle, The Parade Quartz G.M.C. Claim Ballarat East, March 27th 1897, est. $4,000-6,000. Mining Boom – Déjà Vu.
Lot 62 – Attributed to Jacob Janssen, View of Sydney from the Race Course c1845,
est. $1,200-1,800. No Horses for these Courses
Lot 63 – Conrad Martens, View of Sydney from the North Shore, 1849, estimate $20,000-30,000. Simple, sanguine, sunny Sydney, satisfying
Lot 64 – John Rae, Panorama of Hyde Park, 1842, est. $60,000-80,000. ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’
Lot 66 – S.T. Gill, First Landing Place of Captain Cook, Botany Bay, NSW, estimate $7,000-10,000. Listen to Mirusia Louwerse’s rendition of ‘Botany Bay – Farewell to old England Forever’ on  youtube
Lot 67 – Australian School, Van Diemen’s Land Company’s Settlement at Circular Head 1832, est. $2,000-3,000. Sketch of a Ketch
Lot 68 – S.T.Gill, Stockmen on Camping Ground, 1854, est. $20,00-25,000. Yer billy’s boiling!

Please let us know if you would like to know more about any of the lots offered at Menzies on 13 September; happy to assist you in assessing works and bidding on the night for you.

Personal viewing is from 6 to 12 September at 12 Todman Ave, Kensington, 11 am to 6 pm. You can also view on the web at Menzies.

Written by

David Hulme is an approved valuer for the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts program and a member of the Art Consulting Association of Australia. David Hulme is also managing director at Banziger Hulme Fine Art Consultants, which is a highly respected art consultancy in Australia and has been in operation for over ten years. David also regularly comments on the Australian and international art market on national radio and in numerous local and national newspapers.

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