Leading Australian architect's art collection goes to auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 24th March, 2019

Among the prolific offering of quality works by leading Australian artists at Deutscher and Hackett’s forthcoming art auction from 7pm Wednesday April 10 at Sydney’s National Art School in Forbes Street, Darlinghurst, is a small number of paintings from the estate of Singapore-based Australian architect, the late Kerry Hill.

Hill, who died after a short battle with cancer in August last year aged 75, was well feted by his profession – winning the Australian Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal in 2006 and the Singapore President’s Design Award four years later.

In 2012, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO). Hill graduated in 1968 from the University of Western Australia and his first architecture position was at Howlett and Bailey in Perth.

A role at Hong Kong-based Palmer and Turner saw the beginning of a decades-long career across Asia and Australia that included work in India, Bhutan, Japan, China, Croatia, Jordan and Spain.

In 1979, Hill founded his firm Kerry Hill Architects – headquartered in Singapore with an office in Perth – and became the Australian architect behind some of Asia’s most innovative buildings, according to the 2006 ABC’s Asia Pacific Focus.

Writing in Architecture Australia, Geoffrey London said Hill’s “rigorously ordered” work was built on lessons Learnt from modernist architects such as Louis Khan, Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright.

Hill’s five auction offerings (lots 31-35) include Donald Friend’s Balinese with Cage Birds c1975 and The Health and Hobbies Fitness Camp c1963, Ian Fairweather’s Sea Anemones 1957 and Robert Klippel’s Collage 1993 and No. 459, Painted Wood Construction, 1985.

Many of the high profile auction works should attract plenty of attention from art lovers and investors alike.

They include Charles Blackman’s Alice on the Table, 1956, (lot 9) a tempera and oil on composition board that has a catalogue estimate of $1.5 million to $2 million.

Originally displayed at Brisbane’s Johnstone Gallery, the painting was auctioned in August 1995 by Christie’s in Melbourne and has been sitting in a British private collection ever since.

Blackman painted the work in 1956 – the same year he first encountered Lewis Carroll’s children’s book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), a talking book he borrowed from the library to read to his blind wife.

Another significant work is Fairweather’s Barbecue, 1963 (lot 23) along with John Brack’s Four Pairs and a Single, 1971 (lot 26).

The former has come from the estate of Melbourne’s Leonard French and the latter from Melbourne’s Joseph Brown Gallery.

Other notable artists include Fred Williams (Australian Landscape, 1969 and Lysterfield, c1968 – lots 25 and 24), Arthur Boyd’s The Old Mine, c1951 (lot 11), Tim Storrier’s Starlight Over The Plain (Night Coals), 2008 (lot12) and William Strutt’s Slack Times, 1883.

Icons Jeffrey Smart and Sidney Nolan also are represented with works such as St Kilda, 1959 and The Questioning, 1954.


Melbourne viewing: 11am-6pm Thursday March 28 to Sunday March 31

                                    105 Commercial Road, South Yarra.


Sydney viewing: 11am-6pm Thursday April 4 to Wednesday April 10

                                    16 Goodhope Street, Paddington.

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