But why the difference in clearances between the sales?
One theory must be the difference in the Australian and the indigenous markets.
The correction has exposed a softness in the Aboriginal market as shown at the D&H sale.
Clearly, the indigenous market is not as strong as the international and Australian market and prices showed this.
For instance, The Ringer at Deutscher-Menzies sold for $420,000 on the hammer, which was more than its lower estimate.
So why did a big Rover Thomas, Bungullgi, which was featured in this column before the sale, sell for $440,000, just missing its lower estimate?
This is particularly impressive when you consider that the painting was sold by Lawson-Menzies just over a year ago for $375,000 against a lower estimate of $500,000.
It defied the trend in the Aboriginal market because it is a significant painting.
In Melbourne, the disappointments at the D&H sale were more to do with the lack of resilience in the Aboriginal market.
But, as with the Rover Thomas, quality defied the trend.
Emily Kame Kngwarreye’s Untitled (Alhalkere) sold for $252,000 against its upper estimate of $200,000.
Her big, red Anooralya brought $87,000, well above its estimate of $50,000 to $60,000.
Her series of three smaller paintings, Body Paint, brought a flurry of bids, selling for $36,000 on an estimate of $15,000 to $18,000.
Sellers will miss the absence of the boom merchants who pushed the art market to unsustainable heights, but the gloom merchants have been denied.