• ARTISTS

          Cooee Art has built long-term relationships with Aboriginal and First Nations artists and their not for profit art centres since 1981.

          Our gallery team travels regularly to remote areas of Australia to meet with artists and develop our exhibition program.

        • Auction Artists

          Cooee Art Auctions works with artists bi-annually across two separate departments – Indigenous Fine Art and Modern & Contemporary Fine Art.

          Read through the profiles and market analysis for the top 200 Indigenous artists

        • 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

Industry Articles & Reviews

IT’S TOUGH TO CANVAS AN OPINION

Posted: 03/08/2021
By:nodadev

Who do you call when someone disparages your Degas, pooh-poohs your Picasso or disses your Dali? Until recently, authenticating an artwork was pretty straightforward. But in the wake of a series of high profile and very costly court cases in Australia and overseas, experts are going to ground, with ramifications not only for artists and collectors, but also for our major art galleries.

Traditionally, the go-to person for spotting fakes and forgeries has been the ”connoisseur”, the acknowledged expert in the field who has acquired an intimate familiarity with a particular artist’s work. Through a combination of rigorous scholarship and a familiarity with an artist’s signature touch, they can identify whether or not an artwork is authentic. Think of it as the art world’s equivalent of a forensic handwriting expert.

But those who are best qualified to voice opinions about the authorship of works of art are increasingly choosing to keep quiet. “Scholars and foundations that make decisions about authenticity feel increasingly constrained by legal threats from people who own or are selling fakes,” writes Jack Flam, president of Robert Motherwell’s Dedalus Foundation, (which oversees the legacy of the American Expressionist painter).

Alleged fake Brett Whiteley bought by Andrew Pridham

Suspect work … Big Blue Lavender Bay, 1988.

In Australia, Robyn Sloggett, Director of the Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation, concurs. “The fact that the courts are seen as a solution is an indictment on the level of verification and checking conducted in the market.”

The organisations that assumed responsibility for authenticating artworks by some of the biggest names on the art market, including Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Roy Lichtenstein, have all recently announced they will no longer do so. In America, the peak body for art historians – the College Art Association – has advised its members to be mindful of the ”possible risks of litigation over the rendering of opinions”.

Several cases of alleged mistaken artistic identity have grabbed headlines in Australia. In 2010, three forged Robert Dickerson and Charles Blackman drawings were cast into the flames of a ceremonial bonfire by the artists themselves after Justice Peter Vickery deemed them to be forgeries. Peter Gant, the dealer who provided the valuations that were sold with the forged artworks, was also found to be in breach of the Fair Trading Act in light of his misattribution of the drawings.

Alleged Charles Blackman

The allegedly fake Charles Blackman piece.

Two paintings sold in 2011 at auction house Deutscher and Hackett and attributed to Charles Blackman are the subjects of a civil case in the Federal Court. Another case before the NSW Supreme Court involves an alleged forgery of a Brett Whiteley painting sold by Melbourne-based art expert and dealer Anita Archer to collector, Andrew Pridham. Archer is being sued by Pridham for allegedly failing to exercise ”reasonable care, diligence and skill” required to verify the painting’s provenance.

Art dealer James Makin has a bleak view of what this all means for the Australian art market. In the absence of expert opinion, “collectors with no deep understanding of art will be out there buying ”signatures” and building a ”cookie-cutter collection” without the guidance of experts and an awareness of connoisseurship.”

Although our major galleries have their own in-house connoisseurs, otherwise known as curators, they also rely heavily on external experts for their depth of knowledge of particular artists or movements when it comes to acquiring new works via the market or donations.

Unfortunately, a number of high-profile international controversies have shown many of those who would otherwise be deemed the ”right” experts, are electing to keep quiet on questions of authenticity.

In January 2012, the Courtauld Institute of Art cancelled a forum planned to discuss the attribution of a collection of drawings reputedly by Francis Bacon out of concern for the ”possibility of legal action being taken.” Bacon’s biographer, Michael Peppiatt, and the author of his catalogue raisonne (a comprehensive scholarly catalogue of an artist’s output), Martin Harrison, have so far declined to attribute the drawings to Bacon’s oeuvre. And a cache of 74 plaster casts claimed to be by Edgar Degas, unveiled with much fanfare in 2009, now languishes without a label because the foremost experts in the field are unwilling to go out on a limb and declare them either the greatest artistic find of the 21st century, or a hoax.

Money is at the core of this emerging crisis of confidence and it casts a pall over every corner of the art market. The troublesome Bacon drawings and Degas plasters are stuck in a strange limbo – orphans of the art market. And in the high-stakes game of trading art, lineage is everything. In the wake of the art market boom that began in the late 1990s, launching prices into the stratosphere, attribution means a great deal more than ever before. For artists and collectors alike, the greatest concern is the effect on the market overall. When authorship is challenged, even legitimate works at auction can be tarred by the same brush, and prices for an artist’s work can stall.

There are very few works of art that can truly be considered as having a watertight provenance – the record that ideally documents the artwork’s history of ownership from the point of its creation. Methods of scientific analysis have developed in recent years, but they are costly, and the findings are not always definitive. Furthermore, provenance can be forged, as can techniques that evade scientific detection. Everyone, from auction houses to major public galleries and private collectors, depends on connoisseurs to fill in the gaps.

But connoisseurship is not a static art. Experts develop their understanding of an artist’s body of work over time, and as a result previously securely attributed artworks are reassessed. The National Gallery of Victoria discovered this the hard way in 2007, when the Van Gogh Museum declared that Head of a Man, previously credited to the Dutch master, was most likely painted by one of his contemporaries. Gerard Vaughan, then director of the gallery, was philosophical. “The reattribution of paintings is part of the daily life in any major gallery with a large and complex collection. We regularly change the labels to reflect new research and scholarly opinion.” Jaynie Anderson, professor of fine arts at the University of Melbourne, says: “No one should be frightened of real knowledge.”

The question posed by many in the marketplace is whether or not the experts in these cases are always right. Mark Fraser, chairman of auction house Bonhams Australia in Paddington, and former director of MONA in Hobart, sees it as a significant problem. “Artists’ estates often have the ultimate say, even where they may not be as knowledgeable as they purport to be. ”

In some quarters, connoisseurship as a field of study is viewed as rather passe. Ever since Marcel Duchamp exhibited Fountain, a signed, thankfully factory-fresh, urinal, in New York in 1917, the study of art has tended to focus on the concepts and theories that underpin artistic practice.

Anderson doesn’t consign connoisseurship to the dustbin of history. “It is one of the essential skills of the art historian.”

Fraser would like to see a return to the days when collectors really looked at the art they were buying. “Connoisseurship is less fashionable now than it once was. Buyers look at art from a decorative perspective. They don’t spend enough time looking at the art and feeling what the artists were doing.” NSW art dealer Matt Henry also believes collectors should trust their own judgment. “If people have any doubts about a painting’s authenticity then I would suggest that they follow their instincts. If something seems too good to be true it almost always is.”

The perspective of individual collectors is one thing. But what of those who spend large sums of public money on art? In Australia, major public institutions rely heavily on the cooperation of acknowledged experts when accepting donations through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program (which gives favourable tax treatment to donors who gift significant works). As art prices have soared, our major galleries’ spending power has declined, making these donations, and the expertise that enables them, all the more crucial.

To an extent, it falls to artists and their dealers to look out for themselves. Makin says: “Artists should keep better records. It is easy to record every work you do, and file it. Make notes of materials used, and keep purchase receipts from the art supply shop.”

Another approach is to educate buyers. The Calder Foundation, which protects the legacy of US sculptor Alexander Calder, does not authenticate works, but it does publish a detailed online guide to the sculptor’s development, the idea being that interested parties can use the available information to determine whether an artwork is fake.

Sloggett sees an easy path out of the morass: closer relationships between academics, with their painstaking, peer-reviewed research methods, and buyers and sellers. “The trouble is that the art market and the scholarly world don’t generally spend a lot of time in each other’s company. Scholars need to be more aware of the contemporary market, and the market needs to work in a more scholarly manner.”

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THE DEALER IS THE DEVIL

AN INSIDER’S HISTORY OF THE ABORIGINAL ART TRADE by Adrian Newstead OAM

REDFERN GALLERY

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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