Australian-Chinese collection attracts international acclaim

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 10th October, 2015

Barry and Anne Pang ran a successful martial arts school in Melbourne (established in 1974) long before they became interested in collecting art.

However, by the mid-1990s their passion for the finer things in life was rapidly accelerating and so they established the Toorak-based Artpreciation business to help develop a significant art collection.

“We first started collecting Pro Hart works which we then sold to plough the money back into better paintings,” Barry said.

“Before long we ended up with significant works by artists like Sidney Nolan, Russell Drysdale, Arthur Boyd, Rick Amor and Charles Blackman – bought either directly from the artist or from their original collections.”

Several years ago, their son John decided to establish an internet business selling works of lesser value including many original David Bromley paintings.

He then decided to continue his studies in psychology and pharmaceuticals so Barry and Anne took over the collection.

Now, at 64, Barry has decided to close down their art appreciation business and give other collectors the opportunity to acquire the works for themselves.

Accordingly, they have asked Mossgreen to auction the collection, which will take place from 2.30pm Sunday October 18 at 926-930 High Street, Armadale.

The sale is unique because it is the first single owner collection by an Australian-born Chinese to be auctioned in the country – and the catalogue has been printed in both English and Chinese for the occasion.

“The auction is very newsworthy in China and has already featured on the front cover of the influential BQ Weekly,” Barry said.

One of the artworks – Nolan’s Chinese Landscape c1980 (lot 18) – depicting the famous and historically important Moon Mountain and the mountain range in the Guilin Province, painted at a time that he was a guest of the Chinese Cultural Ministry, has attracted widespread publicity in China.

There are many other significant art works on offer (total low estimate of $3.3 million) and also several of Barry’s prestige cars including a 2003 Ferrari 360 Spider manual (lot 1), a 2003 MG TF 160 manual (lot 2), a 2005 MG TFC Spark (lot 3) and a 2004 Porsche Turbo Cabriolet manual (lot 4).

The two Russell Drysdale paintings – Country Woman 1979 (lot 26) and The Aeroplane c1970 (lot 28) – carry respective estimates of $400,000-$50,000 and $380,000-$480,000.

In a 1960 interview, Drysdale said that Australia was a very ancient land and its forms and general psychology were so intriguing compared to other countries.

The Aeroplane dates from a time when Drysdale concentrated on children as a focus rather than their parents or custodians within this preoccupation with the Australian landscape.

Other works bound to attract attention include Rick Amor’s The City 6am 1989-90 (lot 29) and, at the lower end of the scale, Charles Blackman’s For Barry 1984 (lot 79).

Bromley’s works of intrigue include Childhood Memories (lot 17) and Story Time (lot 110).

In recent times, Barry Pang has had considerable success as a horse race owner – including a significant share in 2013 Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente – and trainer Gai Waterhouse is special guest of honour at Mossgreen’s VIP preview on Thursday October 15. 

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