Eye catching works in Deutscher and Hackett auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 18th November, 2019

Three of the more valuable works catch the eye in Deutscher and Hackett’s forthcoming Melbourne art auction from 7pm Wednesday November 27 at 105 Commercial Road, South Yarra as much for the diversity of the subject matter as for the nationality of the artists behind them.

The first is Yellow Legs, 1969 (lot 13) by iconic Australian artist John Brack (1920-1999) – one of the country’s leading modernists.  

The painting was part of a major change in Brack’s career after he resigned the year before as head of the Melbourne National Gallery School to take up painting full-time because he began to receive a monthly stipend offset against annual sales from Sydney art dealer Rudy Komon.

The resultant increased production shift from earlier years was dramatic and included 12 oil paintings, three smaller oil sketches and a group of related watercolours and drawings on the theme of ballroom dancing.

Including Yellow Legs, the ballroom dancing paintings were first exhibited in April 1970 at Rudy Komon Gallery in Sydney followed by George’s Gallery in Melbourne.

The second eye catching work is British artist Anthony Gormley’s Small Yield, 2015 (lot 14).

Originally trained as an anthropologist, according to the catalogue the English sculptor creates figurative forms that synthetise mind and matter, an effective association that is subjective to each viewer.

In the past 45 years, Gormley’s art has evolved from the iron body casts for which he won the 1994 Turner Prize to increasingly abstract figurative sculptures and installations reliant on audience participation.

The third work is Marchand de Couleurs (Hardware Merchant), c1931-32 (lot 15) by Japanese artist Takanori Oguisu (1901-1986).

Under the watchful eye of compatriot Saeki Yuzo, in 1927 Oguisi moved to Paris and before long was exhibiting annually at local galleries including the well respected Salons d’Automne and des Independants under the Gallicised moniker “Oguiss”.

The artist depicted cityscapes with unwavering attention to the hidden corners, modest abodes and shopfronts of the ordinary Parisian, according to the catalogue.

The auction painting, a shopfront view of a Montparnasse hardware and paint store, demonstrates the effective and aesthetic ties that held the painter’s attention on the City of Light for more than 60 years.

The Deutscher and Hackett sale also is significant for the offering of a private collection of works (lots 35-41) by New Zealand-born artist Kathleen (Kate) O’Connor (1876-1968), whose family moved to Western Australia when she was 15 after her engineer father was hired to supervise the building of Fremantle Harbour.

O’Connor was one of a significant generation of Australian women in the early decades of the 20th century drawn to study at international art centres.

She spent almost 50 years in France and England before disillusionment and ill health forced her return to Australia at age 79.

Other auction paintings of note include Fred Williams’ (1927-1982) Acacia in the You Yangs II, 1978 (lot 46), John Olsen’s Rabbit Warren – Rydal, 1997 (lot 47), Eugene von Guerard’s (1811-1901) Mount Kent, on the Wonnangatta, Gippsland, 1873 (lot 49), Ian Fairweather’s (1891-1974) Sin Ging Village, 1936 (lot 42) and Charles Blackman’s (1928-2018) The Barracker, 1965 (lot 48).


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