by: Cooee Art MarketPlace published: 24th November 2017
Eighty-four Aboriginal artworks and fine Oceanic artefacts drawn from twenty private collections were offered at the Cooee Art MarketPlace’s first auction.
Postponed from Tuesday 14 November after Tim Goodman’s Fine Art Bourse (FAB) online auction platform was taken down by a cyber attack launched in the Ukraine, the 16 November event moved from the beautiful marbled upper foyer of Chifley Tower to the Cooee Art white-walled and art-filled pop up space on bustling Oxford Street, Paddington.
Originally promoted as a cloud-based sale with the hammer falling in Hong Kong, the auction morphed into traditional mode with Goodman wielding the hammer for around two and half hours, coaxing bids from the room of approximately 60 people and an array of phones, absentee and internet bidders who had registered via the online aggregator Invaluable.
When the dust settled, 78% of all lots were sold for a total of $2,709,506 including the 5% Buyer’s Premium representing 72% by value.
The sale highlight was Emily Kngwarreye’s international art sensation Earth’s Creation I, (275 x 632 cm) the largest and arguably the most significant work by this artist in private hands. Carrying a presale estimate of $2.5-3.5 million it sold for a hammer price of $2 million ($2.1 million including the 5% Buyers Premium). Gallery owner Tim Olsen, bidding in the room, acquired the work for an undisclosed client. Having recently opened a gallery in New York, it was unclear whether the buyer was an Australian or USA resident. The hammer price equalled that achieved for the record-holding Indigenous artwork, Clifford Possum Tjapaljarri’s Warlurkulong Dreaming purchased by the National Gallery of Australia in 2007 for a hammer price of $2 million plus Sotheby’s 20% buyer’s premium ($2.4 million)
The sale included 19 lots from the collection of prominent West Australian interior designer Jacquie McPhee, of which 17 sold, and 13 works sold to raise money for the operational costs of running the new dialysis clinic at Ernabella in the APY Lands which were all sold unreserved and achieved a total of $31,710.
New secondary market records were set for 19 individual artists including Emily Kngawarrye. Amongst them were the East Kimberly painters Patrick Mung Mung, and Mabel Juli, and the highly regarded 1980s Tiwi carver Marie Celine Porkalini who was a contemporary of Kitty Kantilla. A slew of up and coming artists from APY Lands community art centres either set new records or established secondary records for the first time. As well as supporting the Western Desert Dialysis project in Ernabella, many of these artists will receive resale royalties. Of the fine Oceanic pieces, two PNG 19th-century items achieved high prices. – a Gope Board for $14,000 plus BP and a New Ireland Headdress for $8,000 plus BP.
This was the first auction held by Australia’s oldest exhibiting Indigenous fine art gallery under the umbrella of its new wing, the Cooee Art MarketPlace. The 36-year-old business, that specializes exclusively in the Indigenous art of Australia and Oceania, has spent the past decade building specialist online resources to underpin its auctions. These are available free of charge to both sellers and potential buyers.
It plans to hold 2 auctions toward the end of the second and fourth quarters during 2018.