Selling the art collection of former lawyer Ross Clarke and his wife Rona in Brisbane was a gamble for Mossgreen auctions “ a gamble that payed dividends. September the 9th was d-day for Mossgreen and the collection of 188 works which included a significant number of major Aboriginal paintings by artists such as Emily Kngwarreye, Tommy Watson and Billy Thomas
Developed over 50 years, The Ross and Rona Clarke Collection was estimated to fetch between $1.5 million and $2 million. Although the overall total of just under $1.1 million did not meet expectations, there was still cause for celebration with several fantastic results for individual works.
A spectacular 121.5 x 213 cm painting by Emily Kngwarreye titled Summer Rains on Alalgura, 1991 was the highlight of the sale fetching $244,000.00 (including premium) against an estimate of $120,000-160,000. Originally sourced from Delmore gallery in NT, gallery founder Janet Holt wrote on the certificate of authenticity for the painting that:
“In this painting the power of the red bare soil is found in the countless fertile seed that lie in wait for the rain that will eventually release incredible growth across the landscape. The visual marvel of the transformation from barren to abundant is a compelling experience. To witness a display of this power, gives a basis for understanding the reverent enthusiasm of the women’s ceremonial activities called ˜awelye’.
Also sourced from Delmore gallery, another painting by Emily, Transition, 1991, sold for $109,800.00 against an estimate of $120,000 – $160,000. The impeccable provenance of this painting was boosted even further by reference to the work in a catalogue by Holt family friend Robyn Purvis, which is considered to be a trustworthy indication of authenticity for an early Emily painting.