Historic Australian painting an auction trendsetter

An historically significant painting of Robert Chirnside by Augustus Baker Pierce (1840-1919) entitled Robert Chirnside and the Melbourne Hunt Club, 1882 (lot 9) was the top selling item at Gibson’s Auctions Melbourne December Summer Art Collection.

Chirnside was the nephew of Australian pastoralist Thomas Chirnside (1815-1887) who built the historic sandstone Italianate Werribee mansion, now a major tourist landmark in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

The painting changed hands for $18,630 including buyer’s premium – twice the value of the next highest lot (lot 20) Portrait of a Man circa 1949-1953 by British-Australian artist John Anthony (Tony) Tuckson (1921-1973), which sold for $9625.

Hugh Sawrey’s bronze, The Man Who Steadies The Lead, 1989, at $8000 almost tied for third with John Beard’s The Angels, 1985 bringing $8073.

CEO Jenny Gibson said for a first purely art offering by the new auction house the sale was relatively successful and was looking forward to further improvements next year.

Other sale works of note included Tracy Moffat’s Grace Slick, 2005 (from Under The Sign of Scorpio series), Victori Mazjner’s Vent Suit Spirit, 2001 and Eileen Rosemary Mayo’s (1906-1994) Children with Umbrellas woodblock print.

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