Major works to attract buyers to Bonhams auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 15th November, 2013

Several prominent art works will be major drawcards for Bonhams November 25 auction sale - part of its four-day Spring Auction Series - from 7.30pm at Byron Kennedy Hall, Moore Park, Sydney.

One is Arthur Streeton’s The Palace of the Doges c1906, which he painted during his Venetian honeymoon with his new wife, the celebrated violinist Nora Clench.

The month-long stay produced a renowned group of works depicting the sights of the watery city, romantically referred to as La Serenissima.

The Palace of the Doges was later purchased from either his March 1909 Alpine Club Gallery, London exhibition or the Guild Hall, Melbourne showing four months later by wealthy auctioneer and property developer William Lawrence Baillieu and kept in the family until now.

Another significant work is Fred Williams’ Summer Snow at Perisher 1976, painted at a time of great transition in his work – particularly in terms of palette, perspective and approach to subject matter.

Brett Whiteley’s Sloping up on the Olgas (I) (with crow) 1983-85 is another attraction – a painting that is part of his long and multifarious fascination with the rocky outcrop as part of the Australian landscape.

Other paintings of note include Tim Storrier’s The Fall (Incendiary Detritus) 2000 and Sidney Nolan’s Kelly with Gun 1964.

While the auction also is significant for the number of Aboriginal art works and artefacts on offer, a painting entitled Abstract Structure c1972 by Roger Kemp is an interesting inclusion.

In the early 1980s, the newly appointed National Gallery of Victoria director Patrick McCaughey selected works (including this one) from the artist’s studio as the basis for three tapestries commissioned to hang in the Great Hall.

The tapestries were not simply a compliment to Leonard French’s famous stained glass ceiling, they were meant to sonorously and rhythmically balance the space and enhance the meditative and transcendental qualities imbued in the building.

An unusual work is Petrina Hicks’ lightjet print (edition 6 of 8) entitled Lauren (eyes closed) 2003, which was the centrepiece of her Light Sensitive exhibition at the Ian Potter Centre three years later and Timelines showing at the National Gallery of Victoria International in 2010.

Reviewer Christopher Allen noted at the time that the scale of the enormous head was for once justified to some extent by its purpose, which was not to be the portrait of an individual but the image of an illusion.

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