Australia's great art period celebrated at auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 31st May, 2018

Leonard Joel will celebrate one of Australia’s greatest innovative art periods – that of the 19450s and 1950s – when it auctions the collections of benefactors Wivine and Roger De Stoop and Georges and Mirka Mora from 6.30pm Tuesday June 5 at 333 Malvern Road, South Yarra.

These collections represent a reunion of works by notable Australian artists of that era including Charles Blackman, Arthur Boyd, Joy Hester, Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, John Perceval, Josl Bergner and Danila Vassilief.

The De Stoop collection, in particular, will appeal to collectors because it features two distinguished Blackman paintings appearing on the market for the first time since Roger bought them in 1954 direct from the artist.

According to Leonard Joel art specialist Jane Messenger, Boy in the Bush evokes the solitude, alienation and vulnerability of Blackman’s preceding School Girl series.

“In Trumpeter, the artist introduces a new tempo,” she says. “The bold simplification of form and geometric blocking of space is set into joyful motion by the bright blue accent.”

Messenger says the discovery of Girl with Cocky – the first time in five years that one of Hester’s paintings has appeared at auction – is significant because works by the artist rarely appear on the secondary art market.

Hester was the only member of the group, who became known as the Angry Penguins.

“Acclaimed for her expressionistic, personally introspective drawings, she was not a prolific artist,” she said. “It’s typical of her works from the mid-1950s exploring the theme of the child.”

Strong contemporary art is represented at the auction through the works of artists like Tim Storrier whose fire paintings are almost cinematic in their vista.

With their five children and about 20 employees and their families (numbering about 100 in all), Wivine and Roger De Stoop migrated in 1952 to Australia from Belgium.

Their intention was to stay for a year while Roger established his ancestral textile manufacturing company in Melbourne.

Instead, they became hooked on the country and began building the magnificent Middlefield House, which became an important venue for artists like, Boyd, Perceval, Blackman and Hester to connect and exchange ideas with the new wave of European migrants.

These included people such as leading Melbourne restaurateurs Georges and Mirka Mora, an artist in her own right.

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