Historical works to the fore at Melbourne auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 30th November, 2018

Australian pastoralist Thomas Chirnside (1815-1887) will forever be remembered for building the sandstone Italianate Werribee Park Mansion, now a major tourist landmark in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

Auction goers will once more be reminded of Chirnside when an historically significant portrait of his nephew Robert entitled Robert Chirnside and the Melbourne Hunt Club, 1882 (lot 9) by British-Australian artist Augustus Baker Pierce (1840-1919) is auctioned from 6pm Tuesday December 4 by Gibson’s Auctions at 885-889 High Street, Armadale as part of their Summer Art Collection sale.

It is not the only historically important painting in the auction – lot 5, a painting by Harry Royall of Victorian Cross recipient John Carroll – being another worthy offering.

The painting is titled in Carroll’s own hand ‘How I won the V.C. at Massines, Private John Carroll’ and shows him in action storming a German bunker and capturing the gun amid exploding shells.

Art lovers will be impressed by Hugh Sawrey’s bronze sculpture ‘The Man Who Steadies the Lead’ (lot 4). It is a powerful representation of the Australian drover and one of only 12 cast.

A waddy fight between two Aborigines from the Lake Hindmarsh tribe, unusually painted on a scrimshaw horn, is the subject of lot 3.

The auction features plenty of modern and contemporary Australian artists’ works including those by John Coburn, David Rankin, John Beard, Lawrence Daws, Tony Tuckson, David Bromley, Matthew Johnson, Robert Doble, Jeffrey Makin and Andrew Browne.

One of the more irreverent and confronting works is Adam Cullen’s ‘Hygienically Sealed for Your Convenience + Hygiene, 1984 (lot 13).

When sold in 2007, the painting broke the auction record for the artist.

Cullen won the 2000 Archibald Prize and is known for his renditions of criminals and underdogs, with Elton John and Amanda Vanstone among his buyers.

William Dobell, Arthur Boyd, Robert Jacks, Charles Blackman and Frank Hilder are some of the artists featured in works on paper and prints for auction – a good and affordable way for many new buyers to enter the art market.

Photography is another worthy section, with Bert Stern’s rendition of Marilyn Monroe and Camille Seaman’s arctic seascapes adding international interest to the like of Max Dupain, Lisa Tomasetti and Robert McFarlane.


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