Large buyer choice in Australian art auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 12th April, 2021

Australian artist Fred Williams (1927-1982) is one of the highlights at Melbourne-based Gibson’s Auctions forthcoming Australian & International Art auction from 2pm Sunday April 18 at 885-889 High Street, Armadale.

The work on offer, a 1968 gouache on paper entitled Desert Landscape (lot 14) with a solid provenance and part of his 2011 National Gallery of Australia exhibition called Infinite Horizons, while nowhere near the money paid for one of his major paintings still has a healthy $30,000-$50,000 catalogue estimate.

A similar estimate ($30,000-$40,000) has been placed on the circa 1894 oil painting On the Epte (lot 18), by British artist Charles Conder (1868-1909) whose six years spent in Australia (1884-1890) left an enduring legacy to the development of Australian art.

His success continued on his return to England and France with, by 1896, the famous Paris Salon hanging his pictures.

The subject of this auction’s painting, the Epte – a Seine tributary – was a favourite for  many Impressionist artists of the time with French painter Claude Monet establishing his studio in Giverny just a few kilometres from its banks.

Rupert Bunny (1864-1947) is another prominent artist to feature in the sale with his circa 1899 work and one of his most important religious paintings St Veronica (lot 23).

According to legend, Veronica witnessed Jesus carrying the cross and offered her veil as a towel. The image of his face was then miraculously transferred onto the cloth and Bunny has tried to portray this event in an act of subtle realism.

Spear Dreaming 1996 (lot 65) by Aboriginal artist Turkey Tolsen Tjuprrula (1938-2001) is a significant offering.

One of the forefathers of the modern Wester Desert art movement which began in the early 1970s, Tolsen developed a new formula to bring Aboriginal art closer to Op-art abstraction.

Using rows of dots, this painting represents spears being straightened by a group of men camped at the Illyingaugau cave site south-east of the Kintore community in mythical times.

Another Aboriginal artist to feature is Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri (1926-1998) with 1996 synthetic polymer on canvas entitled Mouse Dreaming (lot 74).

No Australian auction would be complete without a Sidney Nolan (1917-1992) offering and the circa 1977 painting Gallipoli Soldier (lot 24) is an important later work from his estate, originally sold in October 2014 by Bonhams.

Other works of note include The Artist’s Studio (lot 21) by an unknown artist, Cameron Hayes’ They Opened a Plastic Surgery Next to the Mental Home (Calcutta) 2000 (lot 28), Clifton Pugh’s (1924-1990) An Old Fence 1989 (lot 93) and Gloria Petyarre’s Untitled 1990 (lot 83).

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