October 19, 2004 — New International Auction House Enters Aboriginal Art Market.
The significance of the Aboriginal art movement and its impact on the global art market has been compared to the emergence of the French Impressionists. The exponential growth of the Aboriginal art market has formerly been monopolized by the New York based Sotheby’s (Australia). The most recent entrant into the Australian art market is Bonhams & Goodman, the merger of Goodmans Auctioneers and Bonhams, founded in London in 1793. The Bonhams & Goodman inaugural sale of fine Aboriginal art and artefacts will take place in Sydney 17 November, the night after another newcomer to the scene, Lawson-Menzies, conducts its Aboriginal sale.
The Bonhams & Goodman Aboriginal art department has spent 12 months gathering an exceptional catalogue of works including the former collection of Lord McAlpine of West Green. McAlpine acquired Aboriginal art and artefacts to decorate his residence, Bishops House of Perth and his various resort developments of the 1980s and 90s. McAlpine made a publicized exit back to the UK in the mid 90s with reports of financial pressure. The McAlpine collection has been consigned by a corporate client who acquired many of McAlpine’s assets.
We have traveled all over Australia responding to leads and enquiries to source consignments for this auction. We have selected 270 lots from over 1000 items offered to us. We are very excited to announce to the market several important discoveries to be included in the auction, said Anne Phillips, Bonhams & Goodman, Specialist, Aboriginal Art.
Bonhams & Goodman has taken the unprecedented step of forming an Aboriginal Art Advisory Group which has won the support of the Aboriginal communities and the art circles generally. The advisory group includes Margo Neale, the current director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait programs, National Museum of Australia, Dr Dawn Casey who was the founding director of the National Museum of Australia. Both Ms Neale and Dr Casey are of Aboriginal descent. Also appointed to the Advisory Group is Bob Edwards AO who has a long curatorial history with public institutions. Mr Edwards is Emeritus Director of Art Exhibitions Australia Ltd, the Government associated organization responsible for the promotion of many of the major International Exhibitions to visit this country.
Bonhams & Goodman Discovery “ Evelyn Pultara(b1940)
For the first time the work of the niece of one of Australia’s most famous contemporary artists will appear at an Aboriginal art auction. Bonhams & Goodman Aboriginal art department staff will be carefully watching the results from the sale of 7 works by Evelyn Pultara, the niece of the highly celebrated Emily Kame Kngwarreye (c1910 “ 1996). Emily, as she is often referred to, commenced her career as an artist very late in life around 1988. Her mystical images of yam roots and the profusion of flora in her country, especially after rain has captured the imagination of art dealers and collectors throughout the Western world. With a new auction record achieved recently of $463,000, Emily’s work is increasingly sought after.
Like Emily, her niece started painting later in life, in her 60s. Evelyn Pultara lives in the tiny township of Wilora in the Northern Territory and will visit Sydney for the first time in November. She is looking forward to being in an aeroplane and seeing the ocean for the first time. Whilst Evelyn has exhibited in Sydney and Milan, and is the subject of a French documentary currently in production, her work has never been seen at auction.
Evelyn’s art is fresh to the auction market. There is something unique about her work, the way she captures colour and a sense of movement. I see hundreds and thousands of artworks in this job but when I first saw Evelyn Pultara’s work, I felt that I had discovered something new and truly exceptional, added Anne Phillips.
The 7 acrylic paintings on canvas by Evelyn Pultara vary in size from small to large and pre-sale estimates from $1,500 to $8,000.
For further information, images and commentary, contact Kirsty Williams on any of the numbers below.
Bonhams & Goodman is the largest Australian owned, internationally operated general fine art auction house. Bonhams & Goodman conducts over 60 auctions each year with a total sales turnover of AUD$20M for the financial year ending June 2004. Bonhams & Goodman employs 20 full time specialist and consultants covering Australian and international art, fine Aboriginal paintings and artefacts, fine jewellery, collectors cars, sport and entertainment collectables and decorative arts and objects. Bonhams & Goodman provides more specialists covering more categories than any other auction hosue in Australia.
Goodmans Auctioneers joined the Bonhams Group of Companies in September 2003. The company is controlled and operated by Tim D. Goodman, who has been a prominent member of the Fine Art Auction industry in Australia and New Zealand since 1971. The company’s central office and prime auction rooms are located in a converted 1920s telephone exchange at Double Bay in the heart of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. Bonhams & Goodman has regional representatives and/or offices in Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne.
Bonhams was founded in London in 1793 and remains the last Georgian auction house to remain in private British ownership. Bonhams operates over 40 sale rooms and offices on all continents and is a market leader in the UK, on the West Coast of the USA and in Australasia.
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Artist: emily kame kngwarreye, evelyn pultara
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