Donald Friend collection a Sydney auction must

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 23rd October, 2013

A significant collection of paintings, sketches, furnishings, ceramics and woodcarvings either painted or picked up by the late artist Donald Friend will be auctioned from 2pm Sunday by Deutscher and Hackett at Paddington Town Hall in Sydney.

Valued at more than $1 million, they are not from Friend’s estate – but instead belong to his long-time friend and occasional agent Attilio Guarracino.

In 1951, fellow artist Jeffrey Smart introduced Donald Friend to Mr Guarracino and, despite an often turbulent relationship, they remained friends until the artist died in 1989.

The 242 lots include many of Donald Friend’s own paintings and sketches (including those of naked Balinese boys) and a solid collection of Balinese art and sculptures.

Now in his late 80s, Mr Guarracino is selling because he is worried they will be stolen or broken.

Some of the more interesting works include a Donald Friend self-portrait painted in 1937 (lot 1), a Figure Study with Natives (lot 2) and Hill End, The Royal Hotel and General Store 1949 (lot 23), which he and fellow artist Russell Drysdale discovered in 1947.

Among the Bali sculptures in the collection are works by I Nyoman Cokot (Tjokot) who, until his death in 1971, was the master of demonic carvings in Bali. They include Man Holding Cockerel, Demonic Animal and Child and Demonic Figures.

The collection also contains ceramic bowls, jars and boxes and pigment paintings from the 1920s on European cotton cloth.  

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