Eye-catching sculptures and paintings in Sydney auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 16th November, 2017

While eye-catching sculptures in the grounds of Rod Menzies spacious Stonington Mansion greeted guests as they arrived for Melbourne’s special guest viewing of Menzies forthcoming Australian & International Fine Art & Sculpture auction, the usual display of major art works on easels in the foyer was notably absent.

This time, all paintings could be accommodated on the mansion’s walls including two impressive offerings – Jeffrey Smart’s The Yellow Line 2007 and Fred Williams’ Waterpond, Cottlesbridge 1976 – the subject of enthusiastic addresses by invited art experts associate professor Ken Wach and catalogue essayist Rodney James.

With viewings in both Melbourne and Sydney, the auction will be held from 6.30pm on Thursday November 30 at Menzies Gallery, 12 Todman Avenue, Kensington in Sydney.

The Yellow Line is typical of Smart’s ability to engender a sense of charming disquiet in the viewer with a subject matter that is both strangely odd and vaguely familiar, according to professor Wach’s catalogue analysis.

“Through it one sees afresh that which once barely attracted attention – in fact, in Smart’s case, so much so that it is now common to hear the phrase ‘that looks as though it is straight out of a Smart painting’”, he says.

With its vibrant jewel-like palette and rich texture, Waterpond, Cottlesbridge is a consummate example of Williams mid-1970s landscapes – a significant period in the artist’s oeuvre.

The painting has not been offered for sale for almost 30 years and, with its catalogue estimate of $350,000-$450,000, Menzies is confident of attracting private and institutional interest.

Chief executive officer Justin Turner believes the November auction is Menzies finest for the year with many highlights including the estate collection of former Wesfarmers chief executive John Bennison.

“This features paintings and sculpture by Bertram Mackennal, Rupert Bunny, Elioth Gruner, Arthur Boyd, William Dobell and Lloyd Rees,” he says.

“The highlight is lot 22 Arthur Streeton’s Sunday Morning from Cremorne 1907, a delicately composed scene of Sydney Harbour bathed in sunlight.”

The current owner acquired the painting, estimated at $200,000-$300,000, from the Joseph Brown Gallery in 1977.

Other auction highlights include three substantial Brett Whiteley oil paintings – The Shower 1984, Moonlight on Lavender Bay 1982-83 and Still Life in the Moonlight 1981.

Together the three works demonstrate Whiteley’s versatility across the multiple genres of still life, landscape and nude.

Notable works by other important Australian painters are Tim Storrier’s Incendiary Dawn 2005 and John Olsen’s Jean de Florette 1989.

Menzies reputation for the sale of museum quality works by prominent international is further enhanced with the inclusion of lot 45, Jacques Lipchitz’s Homme Assis À La Clarinette II of 1971 (conceived in 1919-20), a monumental cubist with a catalogue estimate of $800,000-$1,000,000.

It is accompanied by fine examples from Australia’s foremost 20th century sculptors – Inge King’s 39 Rings of the Sun III 2004 and Opus 751 1989 by Robert Klippel.

Viewing Melbourne Stonington Mansion 336 Glenferrie Road, Malvern 11am-6pm Thursday November 16 to Sunday November 19.

Viewing Sydney Menzies Gallery 11am-6pm Thursday November 23 to Wednesday November 29 (Sunday from 1pm). 

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