By Michaela Boland, The Australian, 26 November 2014
One of the earliest and largest of Grace Cossington Smith’s much-acclaimed late interiors — and possibly the only one still in private hands — ignited a bidding frenzy at Sotheby’s Australia’s Important Australian and International Art auction last night.
The Window was listed with expectations of selling for more than $250,000 but bidding quickly escalated to $550,000.
It was bought by art dealer Annette Larkin bidding in the room on behalf of a client. She would not say if the client was the Art Gallery of NSW, as has often been the case.
The sale established a record for a Cossington Smith painting at auction and was one of the few bright spots in a patchy sale. The buyer will pay an additional 22 per cent buyers’ premium, taking the total to $671,000.
Just 62.5 per cent of the 71 offered lots sold, for a total $5.357 million including the premium, a softer end to a strong year for the independently owned auction house. The auction coverlot, a big Brett Whiteley beach scene Washing the Salt Off II, like numerous high-priced works in the sale, sold for its reserve, fetching $800,000, or $944,000 with the premium. Jeffrey Smart’s The Four Closed Shops was bought by dealer David Hulme on behalf of a client for a strong price of $695,400, including the premium.
Despite being furnished with a speculative provenance, Tom Roberts’s portrait With Wistful Eyes sold for $158,600, more than double its low estimate, after a three-way bidding competition.
Original article published in The Australian, 26 November 2014