Bible text a leading auction art piece

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 1st May, 2015

Colin McCahon’s work Paul to Hebrews 1980 is one of the more fascinating pieces of art to be auctioned from 7pm Wednesday May 6 by Deutscher and Hackett at 105 Commercial Road, South Yarra.

Comprising written passages from the Bible on three sheets of Steinbach paper using synthetic polymer paint, the painting is one of two biblical texts that dominated the final period of McCahon’s oeuvre (the first being a Letter to the Hebrews in the 1970s).

The work was completed seven years before his death while battling mental illness and carries a catalogue estimate of $400,000-$600,000.

The catalogue cover is Sidney Nolan’s Ned Kelly 1960 (with a similar catalogue estimate) and was painted at a crucial phase in the artist’s career.

His first important retrospective was held in 1957 in London at the Whitechapel Gallery.

The following year Nolan won the Commonwealth Harkness Fellowship and moved to New York where the vibrant art scene prompted another foray into the Kelly series, of which this work is a leading example.

There are a large number of works by leading Australian artists on offer including Tamamara 1954 by Jeffrey Smart and Herbert Badham’s Snack Bar 1944.


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