Contemporary Chinese art features in Melbourne auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 6th April, 2022

Contemporary Chinese paintings are an unusual feature of Melbourne-based Gibson’s Auctions Australian & International Art sale from 12pm Sunday April 10 at 885-889 High Street, Armadale and the perfect opportunity for Australian collectors to obtain works by China’s inaugural artists from the Political Pop and Cynical Realism movement.

This emerged in the late 20th and early 21st centuries and is well represented in the auction by Chen Wenling – known for his sleek, luminous sculptures commenting on materialistic excesses of contemporary society (lot 20 – Heaven of Peace and Happiness No. 2) – Ling Jian, whose hyperreal and seductive portraits reflect the rising culture of excess and shifting beauty standards (lot 21 – Hero No. 8 2009) and Wang Xi Lian’s Herbei Country Girl 1993 (lot 28).

Of particular note is a series of paintings (lots 50-56) by Joel Elenberg (1948-1980) – who died of cancer at 33 – that were gifted to friend Wendy Lea  and have been handed down through the family.

A typical example is Untitled 1968 (lot 52), a mixed media and methylated spirits on paper mounted on board.

Works by several of Australia’s leading landscape artists are prominent including Arthur Streeton’s (1867-1943) The Stone Bridge circa 1930 (lot 3), Charles Condor’s (1868-1909) Scene on the Epte circa 1894 (lot 7) and Tom Roberts’ (1856-1931) Drovers Resting, Early Morning (lot 8).

A Sidney Nolan (1917-1992) mixed media on paper entitled Kangaroo at Ayers Rock circa 1996 (lot 10) is another drawcard while Margaret Preston’s (1875-1963) The Snail 1949 (lot 15), a colour stencil on black card, is a good example of her still life works.

Popular contemporary artist Deborah Halpin is represented with Ruby Lips 2012 (lot 68) and Italian Luca Pignatelli with Musa 2012 (lot 82).

Other works of note include Miriam Moxham’s (1885-1971) Sport of Kings – the Preliminary, Randwick Racecourse, Sydney 1945 (lot 13) and Donald Friend’s (1915-1989) The Puppets 1965 (lot 17).

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