Top international and Australian artists in Australian print auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 4th October, 2022

Some of the world’s and Australia’s best artists – including Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and Andy Warhol (1928-1987) – are represented in Menzies forthcoming Prints & Multiples live online auction from 6.30pm Wednesday October 12 at the company’s Sydney gallery at 12 Todman Avenue, Kensington.

While the Picasso work is a soft ground etching entitled Jeune Femme Surprenant le Reflet d’une Hirondelle dans son Miroir 1936 (lot 32), Warhol’s is a colour screenprint of Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger (lot 15) completed in 1975.

A Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist and theatre designer who spent most of his adult life in France, Picasso is recognised as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century and known for co-founding the Cubist movement.

Today, those of his major works not held in public institutions bring millions of dollars at auction – the latest effort being a portrait of his second wife Jacqueline Roque entitled Femme assise a la galette des rois soon to be auctioned in Hong Kong for an estimated $10 million.  

Likewise, American Andy Warhol was one of the leading 20th century contemporary artists and a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art, with his work exploring the relationship between artistic expression, advertising and the celebrity culture that flourished in the 1960s.

Another international favourite is anonymous British graffiti artist Banksy known for his anti-authoritarian art and in this auction his work Have a Nicer Day (lot 24) is up for grabs.

From an Australian viewpoint, the auction highlight is the photographic series which formed the centrepiece of Tracey Moffatt’s celebrated 2017 Venice Biennale exhibition entitled Body Remembers (lot 16).

Presented as a complete set of 10 digital pigment prints, it is a powerful commentary on Australia’s history of colonial servitude and estrangement and is her most significant auction offering to date.

John Kelly’s Three Cows Stacked 2001 (lot 17), a painted bronze on a steel base, is another strong drawcard.

Born in Bristol but raised in Australia, as a young artist Kelly was influenced by Australian painters Russell Drysdale (1912-1981), Sidney Nolan (1917-1992) and William Dobell (1899-1970).

In particular, it was Nolan’s portrayal of cows caught in trees that captured his imagination leading to his fascination with the animal.

Another worthwhile attraction is Howard Arkley (1951-1999) and Juan Davila’s (born 1946) joint screenprint effort entitled Interior with Built-in Bar 1991-92 (lot 12).

Although Davila was born in Chile, he migrated to Australia in 1974 – the two meeting later that decade when both were represented by Melbourne’s Tolarno Galleries. They subsequently bonded over their mutual interest in mainstream abstraction.

British artist Francis Bacon’s (1909-1992) colour lithograph entitled Seated Figure 1992 (lot 9) is another to watch.

In many ways the British painter of the post-World War II era, his human form images are unrivalled in the directness of their approach.

One of Australia’s best known artists Brett Whiteley (1939-1992) is represented in the auction with several etching and screenprint works including Vincent (An Essay in Opposites) 1982 (lot 11) and Kookaburra 1983 (lot 22) and another Jeffrey Smart (1921-2013) also has multiple entries including The Waiting Bus 1986 (lot 51).

Yellow Trail (lot 38) by Australian ceramic artist Gwyn Hanssen Pigott (1935-2013)  comprehensive pottery range  is another entry bound to attract plenty of attention.

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