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Ewald Namatjira


Ewald Namatjira

1930 - 1984

Ewald Namatjira was born the third son of Albert and Rubina on the 11th of July 1930. As a young child he would often complain of ill health and was subsequently allowed to spend more time at home or on painting trips with his father. He took up painting in 1947 and from the outset he surprised Pastor Albrecht who had thought him to have little artistic abilty. Rex Battarbee noted that his early works exhibited originality and credited them for their atmosperic and decorative qualities. Especially evident in his landscapes were interesting patterns and design qualities.

In July 1949, at the age of 19, Ewald was involved in a hunting accident with a rifle. This caused the loss of sight in his right eye. He recovered from the injury, and continued to paint, though his injury altered his abilities and the direction of his style. In some of Ewald's later work, the landscape has a slanted appearance. One of the strengths was his colouration where he employed deep reds, purples, ochres and vivid golds.

He passed away in 1984.

Market Analysis

Ewald Namatjira began painting in 1947 and by 1980 thirteen paintings had appeared at public auction in Australia, with the highest price paid being $400. A decade later 85 works had been offered of which only 19 had transscended his 1980 record. The highest price paid at that time was $1200.

He died in 1984, and since that time a steady stream of his works have appeared at public sale. Today, no less than 468 works have been offered of which 361 have sold. This a very high 77% success rate. It attests to the durability of his paintings in the public affection. Yet the average price achieved for his works across the years has been a very lowly $649.

So many of Ewald's paintings have been simply untitled or generically called Central Australian Landscape, that it is difficult to find resales of the same work over and over again. There are many to be sure, and they will have increased in value at each successive offering. His record price was achieved for an untited work by Deutscher and Hackett in April 2009. Though estimated at only $1,000-1,500, the very large watercolour (51 x 72 cm) sold for $6,600 including buyers premium. The following year, 2011, Leonard Joel set his second highest price at $6000 for a work with a title atributed to be (Gum Tree In Foreground). A year later his third higest price was achieved by Sotheby's and in 2012 his fourth highest price ($3,600) was achieved by Sotheby's once more. In fact, nine of Ewald's ten highest results have all been set since 2009, during a very flat market. This attests to the fact that Ewald's stocks are very definitely on the rise, along with all of the central characters in the developing Hermannsburg school of the 1940s to 1970s. While his career average is very low, the average prices achieved for his ten highest priced works is $4,030. This is a bit misleading however. In 2012 nine works were offered of which six sold for an average price of $1,060.

Collectors attracted to the work of Albert Namatjira and his sons, as well as the breakaway group headed by Otto Pareroultja and his brothers, should be aware that prices for their works have been steadily increasing year after successive year. They are still comparatively affordable, but this will not last forever. As time marches on, their most desirable and accomplished works will be expected to sell for a premium each time they appear at sale.

Disclaimer: At Cooee Art Leven, we strive to maintain accurate and respectful artist profiles. Despite our efforts, there may be occasional inaccuracies. We welcome any corrections or suggested amendments.
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