• SHOP ARTWORKS

          Cooee Art curates ethically sourced art from Australian Indigenous communities that we have formed relationships with for 40 years.

          Our gallery team travels regularly to remote areas of Australia to meet with artists to consign artworks.

        • New Arrivals

          Cooee Art gallery artworks arrive in our online shop and our gallery spaces weekly.

          Shop new arrivals that coincide with our monthly exhibition program.

        • All Artworks

          Shop online from the full portfolio of available Cooee Art artworks – paintings, sculptures, fine art prints and artisanal objects ranging from $100 – $500k.

        • EXHIBITIONS

          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.

        • Current

          Cooee Art presents monthly solo and group exhibitions in the Paddington gallery supported by public programs including artist talks and workshops.

        • Future

          Explore forthcoming exhibitions in the Cooee Art galleries and our special event program.

        • AUCTIONS

          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. 

        • Indigenous Fine Art

          Cooee Art Auctions offers bi-annual auctions of significant and highly-collectible Australian Indigenous artworks.

          Our Art Market Analytics provides comprehensive artist profiles and market analytics on Australia’s 200 most important Aboriginal artists.

        • Modern & Contemporary Fine Art

          Introducing Modern and Contemporary Australian and international art.

          We seek to establish new benchmarks for pricing and documentation for artists in the secondary art market

        • Art Market Analytics

          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.

        • Artist Profiles

          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.

        • Consultancy

          The Cooee Art team has been providing expert advice for over 40 years in a Consultancy capacity to offer a breadth of services for the business side of art.

        • Valuations

          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.

        • ABOUT

          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.

  • Contact

Cooee Art foremost acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, as the traditional owners and custodians of the unceded land and waters on which we work and reside.

ABORIGINAL FINE ART GALLERY, PURCHASE AUSTRALIAN INDIGENOUS ART, CONTEMPORARY AND ABORIGINAL ART FOR SALE – SYDNEY

Price and availability are subject to change at the gallery’s discretion. While we try to ensure the accuracy of all data across the website, Cooee Art reserves the right to cancel a sale due to price change.

The artist holds the copyright for all images throughout the website and must not be reused or reproduced in any way without explicit permission.

© COOEE ART 1981 – 2021

Otto Pareroultja

Upcoming auction

Available Gallery Artworks

Sort by
Sort the display of artworks by selecting from the dropdown selection here

Profile

Otto Pareroultja was the oldest of three brothers that Rex Battarbee referred to as the ‘breakaway group’. They were amongst the new generation to follow Albert Namatjira as the watercolour landscape artists at the Lutheran mission of Hermannsburg. Pareroultja was twelve years younger than Namatjira, and despite Battarbee’s initial preference for works by Otto’s younger brother Edwin, it is the elder brother’s work that has been consistently compared with that of Namatjira. Even in 1947, when he first began painting, there were those who inferred that Otto’s works resonated with that of European modernists such as Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gaugin in that his landscapes were distinguished by brilliant colour, dense patterning and ‘rhythmic pulsation’.

While Albert Namatjira’s life has often been characterised by art historians as being ‘lived in two worlds’ – torn between the need for acceptance by his own Aranda people with the pressure of kinship obligations; and compelled by the imperative to act as if he were a white European citizen, Pareroultja’s life was not so marked by conflict.  His art, however, does dwell in that space between Indigenous Australian, and European styles. Though Pareroultja never departed from the use of watercolour over the course of his artistic career, his style and subject matter became markedly ‘more Aboriginal’, and, with this gradual transition, much stronger. The sense of movement inherent in his paintings is reminiscent of Dreaming narratives. Anthropologist T.G.H. Stehlow and Battarbee both pointed out the connections between the swirling parallel lines and concentric circles of Otto’s paintings and the designs found on the sacred ‘tjuringa’ stones associated with men’s ceremonial life. It is this ‘traditional resonance’ in his painting that distinguishes Pareroultja from other artists of the Hermannsburg school. Landscape painting as taught at the Lutheran mission, and practiced by the majority of community painters, was rather a matter of ‘freeze-frame’; the landscape rendered static against the page. By comparison Pareroultja’s desert landscapes exhibit a distinct dynamic originality.

The best of his works were painted late in a career which spanned twenty years. His paintings predominantly depict sacred sites – although at the time of Pareroultja’s painting they may not have been recognised as such outside of their community context. Dark areas are set against regions of prolific colour. The effect is that of concentrated working in defined regions of the canvas such as the ridges of a mountain, or the trunk of a tree. Pareroultja was not overly concerned with correct perspective in his landscape. Shade and scale resulted in paintings that can appear all detail and no depth, almost as if they were intended as the backdrop to a play. His forte was not artistic realism. While we have no indication that he aimed for this, the merit of a painting by Otto Pareroultja lies in the visual articulation of certain Indigenous elements, rendered through European technique.

While Otto painted from 1947 onwards his work was largely overshadowed by that of Albert Namatjira until the early 1980’s when several of his works were included in important exhibitions. This led to his inclusion in the Great Australian Art Exhibition 1788-1988 at the Art Gallery of South Australia and marked the point at which a reassessment of his artistic legacy began.

Over the years there has been some debate as to whether Pareroultja’s depiction of sacred ancestral knowledge was deliberate or unconscious. A more pertinent question might be whether the artist aimed to be political. The answer is probably no.  Rex Battarbee, encouraged Pareroultja, like Namatjira and others, to paint things ‘as he saw them’, advice that seems to have been, in Pareroultja’s case, the catalyst for a break with tradition.  The native Indigenous forms in the landscape seem simply an intrinsic part of the artist’s vision of his environment. As is often the case, painting truthfully generally makes for good art.

MARKET ANALYSIS

The comparison between the paintings of Albert Namatjira and Otto Pareroultja in recent art criticism has raised Pareroultja’s profile as a key figure in ‘transitional’ Aboriginal art (that is art presenting both Indigenous Australian and European influences). The surge of interest since the late 1980s is imbued with certain politics. Both Pareroultja and Namatjira have been the subject of a ‘re-Aboriginalisation’. In 1986 Daniel Thomas, director of the Art Gallery of South Australia, initiated a project to posit Namatjira as an intermediary on the road to the emergence of the Papunya movement rather than the producer of anomalous kitsch, as he had been treated during the previous decade. Interest in this new perception of Namatjira also reflected on Pareroultja, who, in comparison would, more overtly, incorporate Aboriginal elements in his watercolours.  The study rekindled an appreciation of the artistic merit in Namatjira’s work and this was reflected in rising market values for his, and concurrently, although not as dramatically, the works of Pareroultja.

The average sale price of Otto's work has steadily increased at auction since the mid 1970s and his success rate at auction is now a very respectable 74%. This should considered high for an artist that has had over 517 works offered for sale over a very long period. Prices in the early eighties were generally under $100 but increased gradually to around $300 by the late 80s, and $750 in the late nineties. By 2002 the artist’s career average price was  $1,500 and reached $2,800 in 2005 even when omitting the spectacular result achieved for a work in July 2003, which would have skewed the average significantly. 

In that year Sotheby’s sold Central Australian Landscape c. 1956 for $24,000, against an estimate of $7,000-10,000 at its July Sydney auction. Prior to this no work by Pareroultja had commanded more than $10,000 in the secondary market. However three years later, Central Australian Landscape 1950’s attracted $84,000, well above market estimates of $30,000-50,000 at Sotheby’s July sale in Melbourne (Lot 29). ‘A very similar looking painting’, was the wry remark in The Australian Art Market Report (2006/7:19). The two works are indeed similar. Like so many paintings in Pareroultja’s oeuvre, both of these works depict the white ghost gum. In fact, in the entire body of Pareroultja’s work, very few paintings vary from this theme; a uniformity that might appear obsessive, even farcical, to a non-Indigenous eye, until we realise that what is being painted are not actually trees, but rather spirits; or, should I say, the representational motif of a spirit. It is only in this light that the repetition begins to make more sense. Tim Strehlow observed that the ‘tiger like rings’ looping the trunks of the ghost gums were referential to the practice of painting black and white rings on the trunks of totem poles, an Aranda ritual.

Although his top two prices have been for works painted in the 1950s, across his entire oeuvre there is little difference in price according to when the painting was created. Many works are undated and his style varied according to whim, as brightly coloured expressionistic works were painted in the same years as more subdued realistic versions. In general, the market has favoured the former with the subtler pale and the less complex imagery fetching lower prices.

In 2007 no less than four of his top ten records were displaced by new results. These included the $48,000 paid for a 1960s Aranda landscape sold by Sotheby’s in July (Lot 68), which carried a presale estimate of $40,000-60,000. An estimate of this magnitude would have been unthinkable just two years earlier, such has been the growth of interest in the artist’s work. Another Central Australian Landscape sold at Joel Fine Art in June for $18,750 (Lot 61) and a lovely rendition of Haast’s Bluff snuck into the artist’s top results at number 11 when sold for $6000 against an estimate of just $1,500-1,800. The overall result of this highly successful year for the artist was that his average price rose from $1,836  to $2,187 per work, surely remarkable for an artist who has had so many works presented over more than three decades. In 2008 however his works were far less successful. Only nine of 17 works offered found a new home and his highest price was a poor $5,400. This lowered his career clearance rate from 81% to 79%. The upward trajectory seen previous to 2008 was regained in 2009 with all but one of the 16 works on offer finding a buyer, whilst setting new third, fifth, ninth and tenth records. The third and fifth record sales eclipsed expectations by a significant amount as exemplified by an image simply entitled Ghost Gums, which fetched $32,400 against a presale estimate of just $15,000-20,000. This gain was consolidated in 2010, amidst intense interest in the Hermannsburg water-colourists. Otto was the 12th most successful artist in  2011, hot on the heals of Albert Namatjira. This saw him become the 28th most successful artist of the movement, a status he continued to hold at the end of 2019.

The one notable sale of 2017 was an uncharacteristic watercolour on wood panel, which more than tripled its high presale estimate of 3,000, ultimately selling for $9,660. But sales have flatlined since that time. 2019, for instance, was a disapointingyear. While 21 works sold of 26 offered the highest price achieved was just $3,480 incl BP at Eder Fine Art in Adelaide and his average price was just $1,122.

Otto Pareroultja’s works have a strong appeal and his finest works should continue their steady growth in value over the next decade. We are, however, unlikely to see any but the very best achieve the dizzying heights of his two highest results. While his works are expected to steadily grow in value, recent sales are of concern. With records for sales going back to the mid 1970s it is remarkable that his success at auction has been as high as it is. Still, Otto Pareroultja was a most important Australian landscape painter who imbued his works with inherent spiritual presence. Amongst the artist's of the Hermannsburg school, his oeuvre is likely to remain second only to that of Albert Namatjira for a very long time into the future.

MARKET PERFORMANCE

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
0.6415 0.4096 0.5253 0.7286 1.1956 1.2019 2.0836 1.0821 0.4391 1.2165 1.2989 1.0638 0.1391 0.1484 0.2638 0.1405 0.6072 0.3199 0.3146 0.7036
15/20 12/17 13/15 12/13 25/27 22/30 28/33 11/15 9/17 15/16 19/32 23/31 3/11 3/13 9/12 4/7 13/20 7/11 9/11 21/26
$1,829 $1,165 $1,633 $3,687 $2,287 $2,985 $5,537 $9,676 $2,380 $6,577 $4,674 $2,139 $2,149 $2,448 $859 $1,234 $2,181 $2,089 $1,222 $1,123
Yearly Market Performance Graph from 2000 -

top 10 Historical artwork sales

1

Central Australian Landscape 1950s

auction: Sotheby's Australia Pty. Ltd. Melbourne lot: 29 date: 31/07/2006
54 x 73 cm Watercolour on paper

$84,000.00
2

Aranda Landscape 1960s

auction: Sotheby's Australia Pty. Ltd. Melbourne lot: 68 date: 24/07/2007
53 x 73 cm Watercolour and pencil on paper

$48,000.00
3

Ghost Gums

auction: Sotheby's Australia Pty. Ltd. Melbourne lot: 94 date: 20/07/2009
52 x 73.5 cm Watercolour on illustration board

$32,400.00
4

Central Australian Landscape c. 1956

auction: Sotheby's Australia Pty. Ltd. Sydney lot: 320 date: 29/07/2003
53 x 71 cm Watercolour on paper

$24,000.00
5

Palm Valley

auction: Sotheby's Australia Pty. Ltd. Melbourne lot: 93 date: 20/07/2009
40 x 51 cm Watercolour on illustration board

$21,600.00
6

Central Australian Landscape (Man on Mountain), Late 1960s

auction: Deutscher and Hackett Melbourne lot: 3 date: 24/03/2010
52 x 75 cm Watercolour on paper

$19,200.00
7

Central Australian Landscape

auction: Joel Fine Art Melbourne lot: 61 date: 05/06/2007
52 x 75 cm Watercolour on paper

$18,570.00
8

Macdonald Ranges Northern Territory

auction: Theodore Bruce Auctions Adelaide lot: 93 date: 14/03/2010
50 x 74 cm Watercolour

$14,950.00
9

Totemic Rhythm and Symbolism of Tribal Mythology, C1960

auction: Deutscher and Hackett Melbourne lot: 49 date: 18/05/2011
53 x 73 cm Watercolour on paper

$10,800.00
10

Central Australian Landscape Late 1960s

auction: Sotheby's Australia Pty. Ltd. Melbourne lot: 66 date: 24/07/2007
34.5 x 54 cm Watercolour and pencil on paper

$10,200.00
REDFERN GALLERY

17 Thurlow Street,
Redfern, NSW, 2016

p. +61 (02) 9300 9233
Opening Hours:
Tuesday – Saturday 10am till 5pm

BONDI BEACH GALLERY

31 Lamrock Avenue
Bondi Beach, NSW 2026

p. +61 (02) 9300 9233
Opening Hours:
Open by appointment

Cooee Art foremost acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, as the traditional owners and custodians of the unceded land and waters on which we work and reside.

ABORIGINAL FINE ART GALLERY, PURCHASE AUSTRALIAN INDIGENOUS ART, CONTEMPORARY AND ABORIGINAL ART FOR SALE – SYDNEY

Price and availability are subject to change at the gallery’s discretion. While we try to ensure the accuracy of all data across the website, Cooee Art reserves the right to cancel a sale due to price change.

The artist holds the copyright for all images throughout the website and must not be reused or reproduced in any way without explicit permission.

© COOEE ART 1981 – 2021

Cooee Art foremost acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, as the traditional owners and custodians of the unceded land and waters on which we work and reside.

ABORIGINAL FINE ART GALLERY, PURCHASE AUSTRALIAN INDIGENOUS ART, CONTEMPORARY AND ABORIGINAL ART FOR SALE – SYDNEY

Price and availability are subject to change at the gallery’s discretion. While we try to ensure the accuracy of all data across the website, Cooee Art reserves the right to cancel a sale due to price change.

The artist holds the copyright for all images throughout the website and must not be reused or reproduced in any way without explicit permission.

© COOEE ART 1981 – 2021