Let’s jump right into it with the very first lot of 18 June in Sydney. We all need lots of friends – Donald Friend that is. Lot 1 is titled “The artist’s chair”, a lovely and colourful oil composition, with an estimate of $ 15,000 to $ 20,000. There are 7 other works by Donald Friend joining this sale, with plenty of collectors waiting.
I am forever drawn to John Brack’s early etchings: lot 7 here is no exception. With John Brack’s works now out of reach for all but a handful of collectors, this work ‘Spectators” from 1956, number 4 of an edition of 12, is fantastic. At $ 9,000 to $ 12,000 estimate, it will fly. A recommended purchase!
One to watch: lot 20 is a big test of Anna Rubin, a relatively unknown artist. “Pisces from Reef” comes with an estimate of $ 38,000 to $ 48,000 and could have a huge effect on her future prices and how her work is defined.
I firmly believe that William Robinson’s prices at auction still have a long way to go, even with an estimate of $ 260,000 to $ 320,000 on lot 24 ‘Landscape and selfportrait c.1987”. Every time you think you have seen the best of Robinson’s work come up for sale, another better one appears. The consistency, beauty, composition, colour, and humour – all add up to a stunning visual force. Lot 31 from 1997 looks equally impressive from the catalogue, estimate $ 180,000 to $ 220,000.
At a time when traditional paintings were much more en vogue and prior to the early 1990s art crash, Rupert Bunny’s ‘Jeanne with her terrier’, c. 1902, sold for $ 462,000 in 1988. It will be fascinating to see what happens to her as lot 26 in this sale with an estimate of $ 380,000 to $ 480,000.
If there is anything that Mr Rod Menzies, Chairman of Deutscher-Menzies, is good at it’s creating a stir. By placing his own painting by Pablo Picasso, titled ‘Sylvette’, 1954, in an Australian Fine Art Auction, we are guaranteed big interest. TV cameras will be aplenty to see what happens. Should the work sell even at the low estimate, it will easily eclipse any previous painting sold at auction in Australia – the estimate is at $ 5 to $ 7 million. There will be interest both locally as well as from overseas…
Art on A Plate: It’s not for everyone, but many artists have experimented with the medium of handpainting on earthenware plates. Picasso did quite a lot of this and this sale we have a few examples with mixed results:
Lot 59, William Robinson, estimate $ 10,000 to $ 15,000
Lot 60, John Perceval, estimate $ 9,000 to $ 12,000
Lot 86, John Olsen, estimate $ 4,000 to $ 6,000
Not exactly plates, the four ceramic tiles by Andy Warhol look interesting, two of Marilyn Monroe and two of Grace Kelly, produced by Rosenthal Studio Line, and they come with an estimate of $ 25,000 to $ 32,000.
The second day of the sale on 19 June is a bit of a mixed bag with a significant offering of Aboriginal art. Lot 202 is a lovely handcoloured etching 18/40 by Jeffrey Smart for a fraction of the price of his paintings, estimated at $ 4,000 to $ 6,000.
Will contemporary Australian photography ever take off in the auction room? I don’t know, but it is still very, very cheap. Try lot 20 “The Jealous Sideswipe” from2008 by Andrew Wellman. This huge photo1 x 3 metres has an estimate of $ 9,000 to $ 12,000, and lot 281, six great images from his “Homage a Magritte” series, 2003, $ 10,000 to $ 14,000.
If you are prepared to sit out to lot 341, there are also a number of fine art lithographs and screenprints by Tim Storrier, Charles Blackman, Lin Onus, Arthur Boyd and Garry Shead, with estimates ranging from $ 800 up to $ 5,000.