Modest auction results for Aboriginal bark paintings

Not all art collectors are keen on Aboriginal bark paintings – but those purchased by Australian superannuation giant Cbus as part of its iconic art collection most art enthusiasts would have thought to be an exception.

The bark paintings – all by senior member of the Barabba clan from South-Central Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory Wally Mandarrk – comprised Part IV of the paintings that Cbus asked Deutscher and Hackett to sell in four auctions throughout late July and August.  

The collection was assembled from 1992 to 2007 by legendary Australian artworld figure the late Dr Joseph Brown after he and fellow enthusiast the late Professor Bernard Smith convinced Cbus about the merits of preserving Australia’s art heritage.

However, following the timed online auction on August 23 total sales by value of $35,000 ($42,955 with buyers premiums included) were almost $17,000 below the low catalogue estimate.  

The best price was for lot 4, Nawaran (The Oenpelli Python – Python Oenpelliensis) which changed hands for $10,432 including buyer’s premium – more than twice its higher catalogue estimate.

Lot 8, Kandakitj (Male Plains Kangaroo with Human Hand removing Stone Spearpoint), was the next best performer at $3927, followed by Male Spirit with Spearthrower (Borndok) and Hooked Spear (Bokko) (lot 11) at $2945.

Two bark paintings each sold for $2455. They were Namormoyak (Spirit Returning from Hunting) (lot 6) and Namarr (Male Black Rock Kangaroo) Karlerrh (Freshwater Longtom) Gunbarrk (lot 10).

The only other paintings to reach the $2000 mark were Dabbarr (Partridge Pigeons) (lot 3 - $2322, Bird and Fish Species (lot 9 -$2209) and Modjarrki (The Freshwater Crocodile) (lot 7 - $2086).

To the extent permitted by law, neither AAR nor the registered owner of this website is responsible for any content of any advertisements published on this website. You should contact directly the advertiser to confirm the accuracy of any details contained in any advertisement.