writes Peter Fish in the “Australian Financial Review” on 15 June 2017.
The enormous Emily Kngwarreye canvas bought by singer Elton John 20 years ago for $46,000 sold for $414,800, almost double its estimate at Bonhams sale on Tuesday last week.
Measuring 1.34m by 3.70m, it is among a handful of super-size Kngwarreye paintings to come on the auction market since Earth’s Creation, 6.32m by 3.75m, sold for her record price of $1.06 million 10 years ago.
My Country dates from 1993, shortly before the artist’s death in 1996 after a brief but prolific eight-year career.
The Bonhams sale, which made $3.5 million, was led by Brett Whiteley’s Hummingbird and Frangipani at a premium-inclusive price of $719,800, way up on its estimate of $280,000 to $350,000, and Roy de Maistre’s Magnolia which fetched a relatively huge $549,000 against an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000.
Art consultant David Hulme was a bidder on both works, apparently securing the de Maistre for a client. Also above estimate were Sidney Nolan’s Ned Kelly at $524,600 and Charles Blackman’s Illusion of Children, which surprised some with a strong price of $219,600.