Drysdale painting achieves auction artist record

Russell Drysdale’s masterpiece Grandma’s Sunday Walk 1972 sold this week at auction in Adelaide through Mossgreen for a new artist’s record of $2.97 million against a pre-auction estimate of $1.8 million.

The Australian painter, who died in June 1981, achieved new fame with the sale as the painting realised the fifth highest price at auction for an Australian artwork.

Realising a record result for any auction ever held in South Australia, Mossgreen chief executive officer Paul Sumner said he was delighted for the Hickinbotham family who entrusted the auction house with the parents’ collection – a significant assembly of Australian art and international decorative arts formed over a lifetime.

“It also was a great milestone for our company in selling this work by Russell Drysdale for what is a new highest price ever achieved at one of our single owner auctions, the category in which we specialise,” he said.

The Hickinbotham collection created considerable excitement among art collectors, often starved of works truly fresh to the auction market.  

The sale included several other gems including the rare Hermannsburg Mission work by Albert Namatjira that sold for $99,200 against a $25,000-$35,000 estimate and Springtime, Arques-la-Bataille by Charles Condor that realised $105,400 (estimate $50,000-$70,000).

The historical Conrad Martens work depicting the prestigious Sydney Ascham at Darling Point in 1855 sold for $39,680, well within its estimated range, and Arthur Streeton’s Portrait of a Young Girl changed hands for $124,000 against its $40,000-$60,000 estimate.

There also were some standout lots among the family’s antiques collection including the Flight and Barr service, illustrated in Henry Sandon’s seminal work on England’s most important porcelain manufacturer, that sold for $111,600 against a catalogue estimate of $20,000-$30,000.  

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