First-hand impressions from Sotheby’s Australian and International Art Auction in Melbourne on 21 November 2006

It was very exciting to be in the room when the hammer came down on a stunning Fred Williams’ (1927 – 1982) painting “Waterpond in a Landscape II” from the Ted Lustig Collection. With $ 1.4 million including buyer’s premium this was the second highest price for the artist – and more than three times the estimate. Rumour has it that the work was bought by a member of the Packer family.

There was equal anticipation for the sale of Charles Blackman’s “Alice’s Journey” from 1957 – it sold for $ 1.02 million including buyer’s premium, an Australian record for this artist.

And a painting by John Peter Russell (1858 – 1930) which had been languishing in a French farmhouse for the last hundred years also set a record for the artist. The work “Gros Temps a Belle-Ile” from 1904 sold for $ 810,000 including buyer’s premium. J.P. Russell is the only Australian artist considered to be part of the group of French impressionists, and counted Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh amongst his friends.

Two exquisite early works by Elioth Gruner (1862 – 1939) from a Perth collection were very popular: “Fisherman, Coogee Beach” achieved $ 78,000 including buyer’s premium, and “Bondi” sold for $ 72,000 including buyer’s premium.

A collection of 13 Brett Whiteley works on paper went considerably over their estimates to realise a total of $ 180,600 including buyer’s premium. These works were from a private London collection after coming from the estate of the late Arkie Whiteley, Brett’s daughter.

One of our clients was also thrilled with his purchase: an iconic photograph of Manly Beach by Max Dupain, presumably taken from the shark tower in 1938, for $ 8,400 including buyer’s premium. And two Max Dupain nudes sold for $ 3,600 and $ 3,360 including buyer’s premium which seemed very good buying to us and achievable for many more people….

Written by

Brigitte Banziger

Hello, my name is Brigitte Banziger and I am an art consultant and manager at Banziger Hulme Fine Art Consultants, Australia's art valuation and art advice experts. We offer comprehensive art valuation and art brokerage services (selling and buying art on behalf of clients). Our art services cover everything from valuations, art care and restoration, to general advice such as helping define the goals for your art collection and work out the best strategy on how to achieve those goals, including where, how and when to buy or sell.

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