Cooee Art was established in 1981 and is Australia’s oldest exhibiting Indigenous art gallery.
The gallery has presented the finest Aboriginal and First Nations art through their exhibition program for over 40 years showing the work of over 150 individual artists.
The Cooee Art stockroom includes contemporary Aboriginal paintings, rare bark paintings and artefacts, early desert boards and acrylic paintings as well as sculpture and limited edition fine art prints.
Cooee Art Auctions provide an informed and professional approach to buying and selling art in the secondary market. We are a market leader with specialist knowledge and proven results.
We offer collectable Australian and International artworks for sale by auction and private treaty.
Cooee Art Auctions work with artists, galleries, museums and private collections bi-annually to curate and consign artworks across two separate departments – Indigenous Fine Art and Modern & Contemporary Fine Art.
Our auctions and previews for potential buyers and collectors are presented in the Cooee Art premium 480sqm hybrid gallery and auction space in Paddington.
Cooee Art has created a comprehensive art market analytics tool with easy navigation. The information we provide is designed to be an invaluable resource for art consultants, valuers, and industry professionals and to serve the interests of artists, galleries, institutions, art centres, collectors and researchers.
Each artist is ranked according to their career, and annual artist ranking index. Detailed profiles, market analysis and performance indicators are provided for a growing list of artists along with the artworks that have achieved their ten highest results at auction.
Current Indigenous Art Market
Provides professional advice on the Indigenous art market in line with other investment categories, thereby serving the interests of artists, galleries and collectors.
Cooee Art Founding Director Adrian Newstead OAM has more than 20 years experience in valuing Aboriginal art and artefacts (pre-contact to Contemporary).
EXHIBITION AND EVENT MANAGEMENT
Cooee Art curates and coordinates exhibitions on behalf of charitable organisations, commercial businesses and galleries in Australia and overseas utilising its extensive contacts with individual artists, artists’ agents, galleries and important private and public collections.
Cooee Art was originally established in 1981 and runs a hybrid art model to represent and support artists in an ethical and sustainable way. We have two galleries, our flagship gallery in the heart of Aboriginal Sydney in Redfern and a boutique showroom gallery in Australia’s iconic Bondi Beach along with a seperate fine art auction wing, Cooee Art Auctions established in 2017. Cooee is now Australia’s oldest exhibiting Indigenous art gallery. Since first working with Australian Aboriginal artists in 1981, we have presented the finest First Nations art through exhibitions and events in Australia, Europe, and the Americas.
Adrian Newstead OAM established Cooee Aboriginal art Gallery in 1981. A former President of the Indigenous Art Trade Association and Director of Aboriginal Tourism Australia he became the Head of Aboriginal Art for Lawson~Menzies in 2003, and Managing Director of Menzies Art Brands until 2008. An Aboriginal art consultant, dealer, and art commentator, based in Bondi, NSW, he has more that 30 years experience working in Aboriginal and Australian Contemporary art.
FOUNDING DIRECTOR COOEE ART
PRESIDENT OF THE Paddington-DARLINGHURST CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
CHAIRMAN WOOLLAHRA COUNCIL Paddington GATEWAY WORKING PARTY
FOUNDING MEMBER AUSTRADE VISUAL ART EXPORT PANEL
APPROVED GOVERNMENT VALUER CULTURAL GIFTS PROGRAM
FOUNDATION MEMBER OF THE AUSTRALIAN INDIGENOUS ART TRADE ASSOCIATION (ART.TRADE)
BOARD MEMBER ART.TRADE, NATIONAL PRESIDENT 1998-2000, 2001-2002
HEAD ABORIGINAL ART DEPARTMENT, LAWSON MENZIES AUCTION HOUSE
BOARD MEMBER – ABORIGINAL TOURISM AUSTRALIA
MANAGING DIRECTOR DEUTSCHER MENZIES, MENZIES ART BRANDS
MEMBER ART CONSULTING ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA
PUBLISHED, THE DEALER IS THE DEVIL- AN INSIDER’S HISTORY OF THE ABORIGINAL ART TRADE
EXECUTIVE MEMBER ART CONSULTING ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA, RESIDENT
AWARDED MEDAL OF THE ORDER OF AUSTRALIA (OAM) FOR SERVICE TO THE MUSEUM AND GALLERIES SECTOR, PARTICULARLY THROUGH THE PROMOTION OF INDIGENOUS ARTS.
Adrian Newstead began working with Aboriginal communities in 1981 when Coo-ee Emporium (founded with Louise Ferrier) held the first exhibition for Tiwi Design of Bathurst Island. By 1985, when prominent Aboriginal identity Joe Croft became a partner in the business, Aboriginal art had become its primary interest. The company organised more than 100 exhibitions of Aboriginal art in Australia and overseas during the following decade.
As a prominent retailer in Sydney’s Paddington precinct through the 1980s and 1990s, Adrian acted as the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Chair of the joint working party between Woollahra and South Sydney Councils for more than a decade. In that role he steered the rezoning and streetscape refurbishments of this lively tourism precinct through both councils.
Adrian initiated the Best in Sydney project and consortium within the Crafts Council of Australia and was a founding member of Austrade’s Visual Arts Export Panel in the early 1990s. He went on to be the prime mover behind the establishment of the powerful Australian Indigenous Art Trade Association (now renamed the Aboriginal Art Association of Australia) by bringing together gallery owners from across Australia to conferences at the Queensland Art Gallery, and Alice Springs. This role required considerable industry-wide consultation and the management of deep-seated enmities within the trade; the establishment of an industry code of ethics and business practice; and the development of its constitution. While still running a profitable gallery he championed this vital industry development and, as its National President, steered it through its difficult formative years. The Association, now two decades old, plays a vital role in high-level industry discussions and planning; leads delegations to the federal minister for the Arts; and presents major submissions to enquiries and arts development strategies from the commercial sector of the industry. In addition Adrian served for many years on the board of Aboriginal Tourism Australia and currently acts as a trustee and board member of the Aboriginal Benefits Foundation established from proceeds of art sales for the benefit of Indigenous health and education projects in Northern and Central Australia. Amongst the many areas of support it addresses are youth suicide, mental health and enterprise initiatives.
Well known for his lengthy contribution to the development of Aboriginal artists and their work, Adrian was the first art dealer to organise art exhibitions by the Tiwi people of Bathurst and Melville Islands, the printmakers of the Western Torres Strait Islands, the Spinifex people of the Great Victoria Desert, and urban Aboriginal art. He acted as the first publisher of Aboriginal fine art prints and initiated metal work amongst indigenous artists including large scale commissioned public sculptures. During the period 1990-1994 Adrian curated and toured the largest exhibition of Indigenous limited edition prints ever assembled throughout the United States of America and Australia.
Over his time as a gallery manager and dealer Adrian has worked with, supported, and represented, many of the great early masters of Aboriginal art, presenting their art in his Sydney gallery and visiting them in the bush to encourage and help develop their work. These artists included Rover Thomas, Abie Jangala, Lorna Fencer, Dennis Nona, David Malangi and many others.
Secondary Art Market Experience
In 2003, Adrian Newstead became the Head of Aboriginal Art for Lawson~Menzies part of the 100% Australian owned multimillion dollar Menzies Art Auction Group. In this role he coordinated two sales of Aboriginal fine art each year from 2004 to 2007 building their Aboriginal art sales from $1M to $9.1M annually. During 2006 with total sales exceeding $8M Lawson~Menizes and Coo-ee Gallery outsold Sotheby’s and placed more Aboriginal art than anyone else in the world. In 2007 he was appointed Managing Director of Deutscher Menzies. Australian records were broken for both Australian contemporary and Aboriginal art during a year that saw the company’s sales of Australian fine art increase from $32M to $65M under his stewardship. At the same time he supervised its major re-branding to become MenziesArtBrands.
Back to the Future
At the start of 2008, after yearning to work once more with artists and art communities, Adrian Newstead and his staff returned to a full time commitment to Cooee Art. He completed his book The Dealer is the Devil- An Insider’s History of the Aboriginal Art Trade.
Adrian Newstead was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the 2016 Australia Day Honours for his service to the museum and galleries sector, particularly through the promotion of Indigenous arts. His passion to support Aboriginal artists and their communities, is the foundation on which the success of Cooee Art has been built. Today he passes this passion on to those who will carry the gallery into the decades ahead.
The Dealer is the Devil
Adrian Newstead spent 7 years compelling the part road trip, part memoir, part history text, part political commentary that is ‘The Dealer is the Devil: An Insider’s History of the Aboriginal Art Trade‘. Read more detail here