Gallery closure labelled a “national tragedy” as art world calls on council to step in

writes Mark Kearny in the Bendigo Advertiser on 27 July 2017.

Arts leaders from around Australia have voiced their outrage at the closure of Castlemaine Art Museum, labelling the decision a “national tragedy” and calling on the local council to step in.

The board of the 104-year-old institution announced last week a shortfall in funding would shut the gallery’s doors for two years while a sustainable source of revenue could be found.

The decision has shocked Castlemaine residents, including gallery life member Louise Smith, who said no one was consulted about the impending closure.

The art consultant’s family financially supported the gallery for almost one century and her father was the gallery’s president in the 1960s.

“We’re disgusted because there isn’t much else in Castlemaine to keep the town going,” she said.

Art Consulting Association of Australia president David Hulme said the two-year hiatus would leave a chasm in Castlemaine’s cultural landscape. Regional galleries were as central to their hometowns as the local RSL, Mr Hulme said, and gave people exposure to the arts they might not otherwise get.

“It’s a place to meet, a place to get a sense of cultural enlightenment,” he said.

The Sydney-based expert previously called upon the gallery’s collection for an exhibition of work from 20th century Australian impressionist, James Jackson. He loaned the Castlemaine gallery’s first ever acquisition, a 1916 landscape entitled Reflections.

James R. Jackson “Reflections”

Mr Hulme said council funds were needed for regional art galleries to survive.

“We have some great private benefactors and company benefactors in Australia, but ultimately it’s very hard for them to fund this operation.”

Unlike Bendigo’s art gallery, which is the local council oversees, the Castlemaine gallery is an independent organisation partially funded by the Mount Alexander Shire Council.

But according to a review of the gallery in 2015, less than 10 per cent of its funds came from the council.

The review also found that the council’s engagement with the gallery was low.

Mount Alexander mayor Sharon Telford said the council was “saddened” to hear of the museum’s closure but understood it was necessary to ensure its long term operation.

“The gallery and museum are highly valued by the community and visitors and we are fortunate to have such a unique space in our shire,” Cr Telford said.

While she said council would continue to communicate with the gallery during its closure, she stopped short of offering to rescue it.

Artist Ben Quilty, whose exhibition of war portraits showed at the gallery last year, also expressed his disappointment at the decision.

“This is a national tragedy, and feels like one more kick in the guts to the Australian art community,” Mr Quilty wrote on Twitter.

A meeting of members will convene at the gallery on Wednesday night, two weeks before the August 11 closure.

Gallery closure labelled a “national tragedy” as art world calls on council to step in is republished from:


Dave’s Faves for Menzies Auction on 10 August 2017

Art collectors are driven by passion, not just for the art, but the history of art, the artist and their contemporaries, and endless connections between them.

In this regard, public art galleries and private collectors have much in common, and private collectors may go on to donate some or all of their own collection to a public museum, or even build their own art gallery.

You might have much more modest goals with your own art collecting. Whatever your motivations, building your own private art museum at home can be richly rewarding and also a lot of fun.

Importantly, you should buy in the right places, and the Menzies fine art auction on 10 August is a good place to start or continue your own museum at home collection.

For independent advice prior to any purchase, we can assist you with research and analysis, and also with experienced bidding on the night and after-purchase management. For more information, contact us on 02 9977 7764 or email

To view the catalogue online now, head to the Menzies website.

The Sydney viewing takes place from 27 to 30 July at 12 Todman Avenue, Kensington.

In Melbourne, the viewing of all artworks is held from 3 to 9 August, at Stonington Mansion, 336 Glenferrie Road, Malvern.

The Menzies auction is on Thursday, 10 August, 6.30 pm, at 1 Darling Street, South Yarra.

Here are Dave’s select Faves from the beautiful offering of 154 lots.

Arthur Streeton Venice Canal
Lot 5, Arthur Streeton, Venice Canal c1908, estimate $20,000-30,000. Bellissima
Cedric Morris
Lot 12 Cedric Morris, July Flowers and Wood Warblers 1929, est. $9,000-12,000. Wonderful Wood Warblers
Albert Namatjira
Lot 17, Albert Namatjira, Untitled, est. $20,000-30,000. Tree-t yourself
Rick Amor
Lot 20, Rick Amor, Boy on the Beach, 2000, est. $28,000-38,000. Time to score an Amor
William Robinson
Lot 27, William Robinson, Bright Day, Tallanbanna, 2000, est. $30,000-40,000. Blissful Bill
Sidney Nolan
Lot 30, Sidney Nolan, Swamp, 1947, est. $40,000-60,000. Drain the Swamp
Brett Whiteley
Lot 32, Brett Whiteley, Approaching Storm, 1979, est. $60,000-80,000. Green is for Go
Tim Storrier
Lot 37, Tim Storrier, Serendipity (Dance to the Music of Time), est. $140,000-180,000. Floral Symphony
John Olsen
Lot 38, John Olsen, Murray Flowing into Lake Alexandrina, 1980-82, est. $140,000-180,000. Get lost in the Landscape
Howard Arkley
Lot 57, Howard Arkley, Curlicue Console, 1998, est. $30,000-40,000. Somewhere to park your Arkley
Danie Mellor
Lot 58, Danie Mellor, A Point of Order (New Worlds from Old Power), 2010, est. $30,000-40,000. The Glittering Prize
Emily Kngwarreye
Lot 60, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Untitled (Wildflower Dreaming), 1992, est. $30,000-40,000. Australia’s greatest Aboriginal artist
Minnie Pwerle
Lot 63, Minnie Pwerle, Awelye Atnwengerrp, 2000, est. $4,000-6,000. A Pearl of a Pwerle
Tom Roberts
Lot 69, Tom Roberts, Tasmanian Landscape c1926, est. $18,000-24,000. The King of Plein Air
McLean Edwards
Lot 84, McLean Edwards, Nighthead 2013, est. $12,000-16,000. His Blue Period!
S. T. Gill
Lot 85, S.T. Gill, Tracking, est. $4,000-6,000. Track this Down
B.E. Minns
Lot 91, B. E. Minns, The Harbour Bridge 1930, est. $5,000-7,000. The unabridged Version
Charles Blackman
Lot 94, Charles Blackman, Alice Drinking a Cup of Tea, 1957, est. $9,000-12,000. Iconic 50s Alice
John Coburn
Lot 109, John Coburn, Beast 1985, est. $12,000-16,000. Solid Gold
Elisabeth Cummings
Lot 112, Elisabeth Cummings, Ingrid’s Place at Night 1998, est. $12,000-16,000. Ingrid Ignites

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The article Dave’s Faves for Menzies Auction on 10 August 2017 was originally published to: Banziger Hulme Fine Art Valuations

Elton John-owned canvas beats estimate

writes Peter Fish in the “Australian Financial Review” on 15 June 2017.

The enormous Emily Kngwarreye canvas bought by singer Elton John 20 years ago for $46,000 sold for $414,800, almost double its estimate at Bonhams sale on Tuesday last week.

Measuring 1.34m by 3.70m, it is among a handful of super-size Kngwarreye paintings to come on the auction market since Earth’s Creation, 6.32m by 3.75m, sold for her record price of $1.06 million 10 years ago.

My Country dates from 1993, shortly before the artist’s death in 1996 after a brief but prolific eight-year career.

Brett Whiteley
Brett Whiteley’s Hummingbird and Frangipani, 1986, sold for $719,800.

The Bonhams sale, which made $3.5 million, was led by Brett Whiteley’s Hummingbird and Frangipani at a premium-inclusive price of $719,800, way up on its estimate of $280,000 to $350,000, and Roy de Maistre’s Magnolia which fetched a relatively huge $549,000 against an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000.

Art consultant David Hulme was a bidder on both works, apparently securing the de Maistre for a client. Also above estimate were Sidney Nolan’s Ned Kelly at $524,600 and Charles Blackman’s Illusion of Children, which surprised some with a strong price of $219,600.

See also

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Elton John auctions his Emily Kame Kngwarreye painting My Country

writes Michaela Boland in The Australian on 12 June 2017.

Elton John’s Emily Kame Kngwarreye landscape sold at auction for almost half a million dollars last week, ten times what the piano man bought it for two decades ago and double what Bonhams auction house expected as the bluechip art market continues its bull run.

Emily Kngwarreye
Aboriginal art specialist Francesca Cavazzini with My Country (1993) by Emily Kame Kngwarreye.

John and his husband David Furnish have been rationalising their immense art collection in recent years, Kngwarreye’s 1993 My Country landscape was the first of their Australian artworks offered to the market.

Competitive bidding by phone, online and in Bonhams’ Sydney saleroom took the 3.7-metre-wide painting well past its $150,000-$250,000 estimate, with a bidder in the room finally securing the work for $414,800, including the 22 per cent buyer’s premium.

In 1997 John spent $46,000 at Sotheby’s in Melbourne acquiring the vast landscape by the doyenne of Northern Territory artists.

In 2008 he loaned it to a major retrospective exhibition, Utopia: The Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, which toured to Japan before showing at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.

The eclectic catalogue of 68 artworks sold for well above their $1.2 to $2.2 million dollar expectations carried by four pictures which sold for well above expectations.

Dealer David Hulme, bidding on behalf of clients, was the disappointed underbidder on several of those works but triumphed after a fierce competition for Roy de Maistre’s blue still life Magnolia oil on linen from 1928.

Hulme described the work as one of the finest modern pictures to come on this market this year. The new owner will pay $549,000 from a reserve of $80,000.

Art consultant Elisabeth Hastings, who catalogued the art collection of Aussie Homeloans founder John Symond, bought Brett Whiteley’s yellow Hummingbird and Frangipani board for $720,000 off a low estimate of $280,000.

Sidney Nolan’s pastel 1966 New Kelly landscape went for $524,000 from an estimate of $120,000.

Hulme said: “We’re seeing 2007 again. People have been competing far beyond the estimates.”

The Australian, 12 June 2017

Elton John auctions his Emily Kame Kngwarreye painting My Country was first published to: BH Fine Art

Dave’s Dupain Faves for the Mossgreen Sale on 19 June

I don’t know how long I have raved about Max Dupain (1911 – 1992) … too long perhaps, but to me, Dupain was not just the photographer who created Australia’s most iconic photograph, the “Sunbaker”, but he was also the first true art photographer.

Dupain had fine art training and was ever the great experimenter with his practice.

The estate sale of over 600 photographs through Mossgreen Auctions in Sydney on June 19th represents a golden opportunity to purchase a piece of magic by one of Australia’s greatest photographers. Yet to be recognised as a genius of his craft, I am sure this time will come.

You can view the offer from 16 June to 18 June 2017 in Sydney at the Mossgreen premises at 36 – 40 Queen Street, Woollahra, and also online on the Mossgreen website.

The auction of Max Dupain – Part II: The final estate photographs takes place on Monday, 19 June, at 36 – 40 Queen Street.

It is held in two sessions, with session 1 from 10.30 am – 1.30 pm for lots 1 – 224, and session 2, for lots 225 – 614, starting at 2 pm.

Anyway, enough of my rave, here are my Dave’s Dupain Faves:

Dupain lot 1
Lot 1 – Surf Race Start, c 1940, est. $2,000-4,000. Make a Splash


Lot 16 - Manly Beach, 1938, est. $500-800. That's My Beach
Lot 16 – Manly Beach, 1938, est. $500-800. That’s My Beach
Lot 73 - Fishing at Tathra, 1940s, est. $600-800. Young Tackers at Tathra
Lot 73 – Fishing at Tathra, 1940s, est. $600-800. Young Tackers at Tathra
083 Dupain
Lot 83 – (Circular Quay from North Pyon), est. $800-1,200. Climb the Bridge every day
Lot 85 Max Dupain
Lot 85 – (Picnicking at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, Sydney) est. $1,000-2,000. Coat hanger
Lot 116 Max Dupain
Lot 116 – (Night Exposure of Traffic on North Side Bridge and Luna Park), 1940s, est. $1,000-1,500. Vivid
Lot 128 Max Dupain
Lot 128 – Hobart Siesta, 1947, est. $2,000-4,000. Hobart Hats
Lot 137 Dupain
Lot 137 – (Finger Wharf by Night), est. 1,800-2,500. Trip the light fantastic
Lot 146 Dupain
Lot 146 – Csr Tomut, 1977, est. $1,500-2,500. Pumping
Lot 196 Dupain
Lot 196 – Nude Figure, Time and Light Motion, 1938, est. $1,200-1,800. Sunbaked
Lot 225 Dupain
Lot 225 – Little Nude, 1938, est. $5,000-8,000. Back Her
Lot 229 Dupain
Lot 229 – Nude Torso, 1935, est. $3,000-5,000. A lot of front
Lot 234 - Jean, 1930s, est. $700-1,000. Landscape, womanscape
Lot 234 – Jean, 1930s, est. $700-1,000. Contemplate
Lot 247 Dupain
Lot 247 – Nude Figure, 1930s, est. $2,000-4,000. Landscape, womanscape
Lot 249 Dupain
Lot 249 – Off Beat, 1960, est. $700-1,000. Watch where you go before iPhones
Lot 266 - Male Commuters departing Ferry, est. $1,500-2,500. Manly Men, Manly Ferry
Lot 266 – Male Commuters departing Ferry, est. $1,500-2,500. Manly Men, Manly Ferry
Lot 267 - Moira in the Mirror, 1951, est. $1,500-2,500. Mirror, mirror on the wall
Lot 267 – Moira in the Mirror, 1951, est. $1,500-2,500. Mirror, mirror on the wall
Lot 292 - Street Scene, est. $600-800. Max Modernist Magic
Lot 292 – Street Scene, est. $600-800. Max Modernist Magic
Lot 305 - Dogman, 1962, est. $1,500-2,500. A Rope with a View
Lot 305 – Dogman, 1962, est. $1,500-2,500. A Rope with a View
Lot 317 - Stockyards, North Queensland, 1980, est. $600-800. Outback Max
Lot 317 – Stockyards, North Queensland, 1980, est. $600-800. Outback Max
Lot 447 Dupain
Lot 447 – Arum Lilies, 1930s, est. $1,000-1,500. Max does Man Ray

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Dave’s Dupain Faves for the Mossgreen Sale on 19 June was first seen on:

Bonhams Art Auction 6 June 2017

Bonhams offer 68 lots in their 6 June 2017 Sydney auction, mixing the very traditional of Aboriginal artefacts with the Australian modern greats like Roy de Maistre, Charles Blackman and Sidney Nolan and the very contemporary sculpture of Clement Meadmore.

You can view all offerings in Sydney at the NCJWA Hall at 111 Queen Street, Woollahra, from Friday, 2 June to Monday, 5 June, and also online at the Bonhams website.

The auction is held at the NCJWA Hall on 6 June, starting at 6.30 pm.

If you would like independent and unbiased advice on any lots, please contact us by phone 02 9977 7764 or email As always, we would be delighted to assist you so you can make a fully informed decision prior to on any art purchase.

And here are Dave’s Faves for your enjoyment:

Albert Namatjira
Lot 3 – Albert Namatjira, Ghost Gum, c. 1943, est. $20,000-30,00. Think I’ll become a tree hugger
Lot 9, Sidney Nolan, Ned Kelly, 1966, est. $120,000-180,000. Stands and Delivers
Lot 9, Sidney Nolan, Ned Kelly, 1966, est. $120,000-180,000. Stands and Delivers
Jeffrey Smart
Lot 10 – Jeffrey Smart, St John’s Church, London, c1948-50, est. $5,000-8,000. A modest Smart for a modest price
Emily Kngwarreye
Lot 15 – Emily Kame Kngwarreye, My Country, 1993, est. $150,000-250,000. Elton’s Emily
Lot 19 - Sidney Nolan, Ely Cathedral, 1950, est. $3,000-5,000. Glass with class
Lot 19 – Sidney Nolan, Ely Cathedral, 1950, est. $3,000-5,000. Glass with class
Charles Blackman
Lot 20 – Charles Blackman, Illusion of Children, c1966, est. $80,000-120,000. I’m enchanted
Lot 22 - Clement Meadmore, Start Up, 1999, est. $12,000-18,000. We all need more Meadmore
Lot 22 – Clement Meadmore, Start Up, 1999, est. $12,000-18,000. We all need more Meadmore
Lot 30 - Sydney Long, Evening Glow, Georges River, c1940, est. $9,000-12,000. Splendor in the Grass
Lot 30 – Sydney Long, Evening Glow, Georges River, c1940, est. $9,000-12,000. Splendor in the Grass
Lot 35 - Arthur Boyd, Mordialloc Creek, c1938, est. $12,000-18,000. Arthur goes abstract
Lot 35 – Arthur Boyd, Mordialloc Creek, c1938, est. $12,000-18,000. Arthur goes abstract
Brett Whiteley
Lot 37 – Brett Whiteley, Hummingbird and Frangipani, 1986, est. $280,000-350,000. Your very own bird in the hand
Sally Gabori
Lot 39 – Sally Gabori, King Alfred’s Country – Makakirr, 2007, est. $8,000-12,000. Gabori always tells us a colourful story
Lot 43 – Christo, The wrapped vestibule, project for the Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney 1990, est. $1,000-2,000. Support your AGNSW
Roy de Maistre
Lot 48 – Roy de Maistre, Magnolia, 1928, est. $80,000-120,000. You say de Maistre and I say the Master

The following article Bonhams Art Auction 6 June 2017 is available on: David Hulme’s art blog

Australian art market gets fired up as auction records fall

writes Peter Fish in the “Australian Financial Review” on 10 May 2017.

The mood in the art market is reviving after almost a decade of flatlining annual sales. Evidence of increased dealer activity on behalf of private clients is mounting amid improving sentiment and the evidence of several successful sales this year – culminating in last week’s Sotheby’s Australia sale, where numerous works realised way above expectations.

A new mood of optimism prevailed at the weekend’s auction viewings in Sydney, where two of the major operators – Deutscher and Hackett, and Menzies – were airing their wares for upcoming sales.

The Sotheby’s sale, centred on the collection of former Mars confectionery executive and one-time Sydney Morning Herald editor David Newby, saw at least three trade buyers securing works on behalf of collectors, supported by solid private bidding.

Despite at least two dozen works going unsold from the 108 offered, the sale raised a total of $11.69 million on the hammer, more than 120 per cent of the total of the lower pre-sale estimates. Including Sotheby’s buyer’s premium of 22 per cent, the sale brought in a total of $14.26 million.

Fisherman, Coogee Beach, by Elioth Gruner achieved $164,700 at Sotheby's on May 3
Fisherman, Coogee Beach, by Elioth Gruner achieved $164,700 at Sotheby’s on May 3. A sure sign of an improving market.

It followed three earlier auctions which achieved buoyant results. Menzies’ Melbourne sale on February 9 raised $6.87 million, including premium, with 83 per cent of its lots sold. Deutscher and Hackett’s sale of art dealer Rob Gould’s collection in Sydney on March 15 raised $7.68 million with 72 per cent sold and the Laverty Collection Part III on April 5 raised $2.62 million with 94 per cent sold.

If the trend continues, it seems the Australian art market as a whole is set to break out of the $100 million to $110 million total annual tally at which it has largely languished since the boom year of 2007 – before the global financial crisis struck home.

Though it is still early days, D&H has already achieved more than half last year’s total tally, albeit helped along by two one-owner sales, while Sotheby’s has maintained its strong pace from last year, when it led the market.

The Australian Art Sales Digest website says total art sales at auction this year tally $36.49 million, almost double the $19.8 million figure generated at this point in 2016.

This week’s sales should add around $5 million to D&H’s tally of $10.29 million and $7 million to Menzies’ $6.87 million – bringing them both close to Sotheby’s $14.25 million. All three will exceed their sales for the first half of 2016.

Sotheby’s first sale of the year last week kicked off with a bang. Many of the Newby works sold at around double lower estimate, among them Elioth Gruner’s modest-sized Fisherman, Coogee Beach at $164,700, Justin O’Brien’s Palm Sunday at $183,000, Ray Crooke’s Thursday Island at $170,800 and Arthur Streeton’s diminutive The Path to Podge Newton’s at $292,800, with both the Gruner and the Crook setting artist records. More surprises on the upside quickly followed, including Jeffrey Smart’s Study for Holiday and Albert Tucker’s Explorer which both sold for $451,400.

The mixed vendor session that followed the Newby offerings saw Eugene von Guerard’s Breakneck Gorge, Hepburn Springs fetch $1.95 million and View of the Granite Rocks at Cape Woolamai $976,000, Russell Drysdale’s Head of a Boy at $610,000, Rosalie Gascoigne’s Summer Fat at $585,600 and Arthur Streeton’s Cremorne at $549,000.

John Brack’s dazzling flower study The Butcher’s Bouquet was unsold, but it was re-offered as a private sale by Sotheby’s this week.

Retired art dealer Tom Silver, who occasionally bids on behalf of clients, successfully secured three lots at Sotheby’s and was underbidder on a fourth.

He paid $164,700, almost double the lower estimate, for John Perceval’s Harbour Trust, Williamstown, showing the frenetic activity at Melbourne’s oldest port, which came fresh to the market from a private Melbourne collection.

Silver paid $73,200, almost three times the lower estimate for Perceval’s Neil Douglas’ Garden, 1958, which hailed from a private collection in Britain. Amid a profusion of flowers and undergrowth, a playful Perceval touch: a childlike face peers from the foliage on the left of the picture. The veteran dealer also bought William Dobell’s Angoram on the Sepik River, dating from the artist’s infatuation with Papua New Guinea’s lush western highlands, which cost $70,760.

Other “insiders” buying at Sotheby’s included art consultant David Hulme, who is one of those vocal about the improving market, and Roger McIlroy, a former head of Christie’s in Australia who now wields the gavel at Deutscher and Hackett.

Not spotted among the trade buyers at this sale was former dealer Denis Savill, who is tidying up decades of paperwork after closing his Paddington gallery.


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