Top art works to boost auction coffers

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 3rd August, 2017

Menzies chief executive officer Justin Turner is confident the company’s forthcoming auction could realise almost $10 million (including buyers’ premiums) when 154 art lots go under the hammer from 6.30pm Thursday August 10 at 1 Darling Street, South Yarra.

There are plenty of strong works by top line Australian artists to back up his claim, starting with the catalogue cover piece – Frederick McCubbin’s Pastoral 1904 – purchased in 1971 by the current owners’ family at auction in Melbourne and expected to sell for $500,000-$700,000. 

Painted in the same year as McCubbin’s famous triptych The Pioneer (now part of the National Gallery of Victoria’s permanent collection) and on special loan to Bendigo Art Gallery from 2011-2016, Pastoral will interest collectors seeking blue chip museum quality Australian paintings.

Once again, a Brett Whiteley’s work becomes the most valuable painting in the auction.

This time it is The Paddock – Late Afternoon 1979 which carries an auction estimate of $1.6-$2 million.

“With opportunities to acquire major Whiteley works now few and far between, this 202cm by 152cm oil on canvas is priced in line with previous sale results for his paintings of this scale,” Turner says.

Other more modestly priced Whiteley paintings in the auction include Lot 1 Corner of Hunter and Phillip Streets 1957, estimated at $15,000-$20,000, Lot 32 Approaching Storm 1979 ($60,000-$80,000) and Lot 41 Table and Fruit 1978 ($450,000-$600,000).

A United States private collection includes Bronwyn Oliver’s major sculpture Snake, John Olsen’s Murray Flowing into Lake Alexandrina 1980-82 as well as paintings by Fred Williams, Sidney Nolan, Lloyd Rees and Robert Jacks.

Two major paintings by Danie Mellor – Lot 58 A Point of Order (New Worlds from Old Power) and Lot 59 A Trace of History (of Death and Resurrection), both estimated at $30,000-$40,000 – head up a strong offering of contemporary art and could well result in new auction records for the artist.

Other works of note include Garry Shead’s Royal Accolade 1999, Tim Storrier’s Serendipity (Dance to the Music of Time) and Arthur Streeton’s The Valley 1925. 

Viewing is at Stonington Mansion 366 Glenferrie Road, Malvern. 

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