Australian single owner photography collection an auction performer

Single owner collections often do well at auction but, given the niche market art photography occupies in Australia, Deutscher and Hackett’s October 11 62 per cent sale result by volume of Australian photographer the late Joyce Evan’s collection of fellow colleagues works was undoubtedly pleasing.

Evans died in 2019 aged 90 but during her life was dedicated to all aspects of photography including portraiture, landscape and documentaries and was always seeking to capture the essence of her subject.

After establishing in 1976 the Church Street Photographic Centre, a specialist photographic gallery and bookshop in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond, she amassed a strong collection of her fellow photographers’ works which, once the gallery six years later, she continued to pursue.

The highest auction price paid was for lot 1, Eight Images Relating to the Kelly Gang – led by infamous outlaw Australian Ned Kelly, which sold for $15,000.

This is a collection of late 1800 albumen carte de visite by photographers James E. Bray and William E. Barnes and features vestiges of the infamous Glenrowan Inn siege with the haunting images documenting the charred remains of gang members Dan Kelly and Steve Hart and the blackened inn destroyed by fire.  

Carol Jerrems, who died in 1980 aged 30 from Budd-Chiari Syndrome, was a strong performer with three of her works selling – the highest of which was Carmel (Lonsdale) Behind Glass, 1973 (lot 28) for $7000.

Max Dupain also was popular with Tathra, South Coast, New South Wales, 1950 (lot 35) bringing $6500 – almost twice its top catalogue estimate – and Eggs, 1933 (lot 37) $3200.

David Moore’s Aboriginal Couple, South Australia (Finnis Springs Mission), 1959 (lot 31) sold for $2000 – while migrant photographers Wolfgang Sievers and Mark Strizic, famous for their mid-20th century industrial and architectural photography, performed creditably with their respective Snowy Mountains Scheme, T-2 Dam, 1960 (lot 44 - $2600) and Hopscotch Under Crenellations, 1971 (lot 56 - $2400).

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