Linus Onus among Aboriginal auction highlights

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 1st October, 2013

A Linus Onus painting of cross-hatched frogs and a large Tommy Watson painting will be among highlights of a range of Aboriginal art and artefacts to be auctioned from 6.30pm Thursday by Leonard Joel at 333 Malvern Road, South Yarra.

The sale features a collection of far north Queensland artefacts gifted to the late Dr Tim O’Leary while he was a Flying Doctor in the 1950s and 1960s.

Of particular note is the bull-roarer with a female torso carved into it.

Other items, including a Billy Duncan painting and various artefacts (lots 60-90), are from the estate of Jim Mann who was part of the musical Hair’s production team during the 1970s.  

Regarded as the greatest Aboriginal artist, the Tommy Watson painting Kapi Piti 2006 has been estimated at $35,000-$55,000, somewhat of a modest price given that one of his major works Anumarapiti Ngayuyka Ngura was on sale last month at Metro Gallery for $850,000 as part of the elderly artist’s exhibition “Going Back To Country”.   

Next week, the exhibition heads to PIERMARQ’s Pyrmont gallery for its Sydney opening.

Other paintings of significance include one of Minnie Pwerle’s earliest works Bush Melon Seed and Albert Namatjira watercolours Ghost Gums and Central Australian Landscape.     

Linus Onus gifted his Frogs in Ferns to the current vendors as gratitude for their support at the time.  

Other interesting items include Kimberley decorated pearl shells owned by Professor Kim Akerman, author, curator and expert in Kimberley material culture and two early 20th century engraved Boab nuts – while a third nut was engraved by a Broome Aboriginal prisoner.    

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