Australian art world collecting giants auction paintings

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 1st August, 2023

Art works belonging to two giants of Australia’s art world – including Brett Whiteley’s (1939-1992) South Coast After the Rain, 1984 (lot 1) and Sidney Nolan’s (1917-1992) Early Morning Township, 1955 (lot 9) – will be among the massive highlights of Deutscher and Hackett’s forthcoming Melbourne auction from 7pm Wednesday August 16 at 105 Commercial Road, South Yarra.

The former painting, carrying a $1.5 million to $2 million catalogue estimate, belongs to advertising guru Peter Clemenger and his wife Joan, who died early last year.

With his father John, Peter established in 1946 Clemenger Advertising Agency in Melbourne, which today as Clemenger Group Ltd is the largest agency group in Australian and New Zealand with 1700 employees.

The latter painting, with the same catalogue estimate, is part of 17 paintings from the estate of Paul Krongold, who died in October 2021 and whose father Henry (1909-2003) and mother Dinah from 1976 built up a significant collection of Australian and European paintings.

A Polish Jew who escaped Nazi persecution after initially resisting the German advance into Poland, Henry migrated in June 1941 to Melbourne and became one of Australia’s most successful businessmen and entrepreneurs in textile machinery and retail lingerie including the Australian and New Zealand franchise to manufacture Schiaparelli hosiery at his Charmaine Hosiery factory.

The Whiteley and Nolan works are joined by John Peter Russell’s (1859-1930) Souvenir de Belle-Ile, 1897 (Marianna Russell with Goats, Goulphar, Belle-Ile) (lot 23) – with its $1.5 million to $2.5 million estimate – as the most valuable paintings in the auction.

The Russell painting was initially a gift from the artist to Melbourne GP Dr William Maloney before being handed down through the family to the current private collection.

Russell holds a unique place in Australian art history because of his close association with avant-garde circles in 1880s Paris and his firsthand acquaintance with the masters of European Impressionism and Post-Impressionism.

His Bell-Ile paintings derive from a several months stint in 1886 on the island, one of a small group off the Brittany coast, where he met and befriended French impressionist Claude Monet.

Three other Clemenger paintings are in the auction including Fred Williams (1927-1982) Landscape with Creek Bed, 1976-77 (lot 2), John Brack’s (1920-1999) Seated Nude with Screen, 1982-83 (lot 3) and Nolan’s Escaped Convict, 1948 (lot 4). Each carry estimates of several hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Krongold’s auction collection includes such notables as Eugene von Guerard’s (1811-1901) View of Capri Near Naples, 1883 (lot 5) Arthur Streeton’s (1867-1943) Rouen, from Bon Secours, 1912 (lot 6) and John Olsen’s (1928-2023) Journey Through the Sea Port, 1961 (lot 10).

Among the auction section devoted to various other vendors is New Zealand artist Colin McCahon’s (1919-1987) Floodgate 1, 1964-65 (lot 25) with a $180,000-$240,000 catalogue estimate.

Sydney Viewing:

11am-6pm Tuesday August 1 to Sunday August 6

36 Gosbell Street, Paddington NSW

Melbourne Viewing:

11am-6pm Thursday August 10 to Tuesday August 15

105 Commercial Road, South Yarra VIC

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