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Greeny Purvis Petyarre

160 Career Overall Rank

- 2018 Market Rank

  • Born: 1930 - 2010

  • Region: Eastern Desert, NT
  • Community: Utopia
  • Outstation: Boundary Bore
  • Language: Anmatyerre

While his clearance rate at auction is poor, his highest price is still the respectable $17,625 paid at Bonham’s and Goodman in November 2004 for a Mbantua Gallery provenanced work that carried a presale estimate of $15,000-25,000 (Lot 13). It was a slightly disappointing result for a work created in 1999, which measured a whopping 120 x 270 cm.

Nothing has entered his top ten best results since 2008, which is unusual taking into account the fact that he passed away in 2010 and the market would have reacted. Nonetheless, his results have been respectable. Most recently, 2017 saw 5 works from the Thomas Vroom collection go to auction, all of which sold for an average price of $2,753, making him the 52nd most successful artist of the year against a career rankin of 157th.

Greenie continued to paint at Boundary Bore and at Camel Camp until his death in 2010, creating works of which a very high proportion are rendered with the greatest integrity and intimate detail. The best of these are a pleasure to behold, and a privilege to possess.

Greenie Purvis Petyarre was the most successful male artist in an artistic dynasty that includes his aunt Emily Kngwarreye, cousin Gloria Petyarre and a number of blood sisters and half sisters. A highly respected tribal elder for Alhalkere country, he was born at Boundary Bore around 1930 where he lived until his death in 2010 with his wife Kathleen and their four daughters, all of whom paint.

Greenie began his art practice in the early 1980’s alongside Lindsay Bird, Cowboy Louie Pwerle and several other men, prior to the Utopia ‘summer project’ organized by the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association CAAMA. While a number of these men began by painting bold linear patterns representing ceremonial grounds and traveling lines, Greenie, from the outset, approached his canvases with far greater intimacy. Over time he revealed himself to be a very spiritual painter with a deep understanding and love for his country. He moved back and forth in his painting between three distinct and easily recognizable styles while rendering his Dreamings, which include Bush Plum, Yam, Emu, Turkey and Kangaroo.

In works which most closely resemble those of his countrywoman Kathleen Petyarre, Greenie created fields of minute dots that imitate the subtle shifts of colour and texture, indicating underground water and slight variations in the landform of Alhalkere country. Delicate colour shifts may indicate different stages in the development of the yam seed from germination to maturity, the season and the plant’s eventual decline.

A second body of works, though rendered with equal unparalleled delicacy, features regularly scattered roundels with bands of the finest dotting radiating and interconnecting.  These more structured and subtly coloured works can be so very delicate as to belie the fact that they were created by a man in his 70’s.

His last body of work was painted in a strong linear style of which this particular work is a fine example. These paintings tend to be far more highly colour charged and are said to depict the root system of the bush tucker plant and the colours of the wildflowers that spring forth after rain. In these linear works, Greenie employed only one layer of paint, rarely reworking his line with a resultant variation in the texture of the finished artwork. This particular example is one of his largest and most impressive in this style. Painted in October 2006 it measures 187cm x 204cm. The viewer is at first attracted by the work’s size, and its mesmeric bands of colour. Its format creates a vortex. When viewed over time it creates its own internal space and draws you in without being overwhelmed.

Regardless of style, Greenie’s paintings reflected his unpretentious personality - quietly unassuming but with that feeling of endurance and respect. Over the years he painted for a variety of dealers including Delmore, Mbantua Gallery and in more recent days Lauraine Diggins who introduced his works to audiences in the U.K., Russia and France.

He was represented in the first ever National Aboriginal Art Award in 1984 and was a finalist in the Telstra Art Awards as recently as 2004. His paintings have also been included in numerous important group exhibitions and two solo exhibitions at Gabrielle Pizzi Gallery in Melbourne in 2000, and the Hogarth Galleries in Sydney in 2003. Important collections that hold his work include the Art Gallery of South Australia, Artbank, The Aboriginal Art Museum in Utrecht, The Museum de Lyon, France, and the Thomas Vroom Collection in Amsterdam.

Profile References

Isaacs, Jennifer. 1997. Emily Kngwarreye Paintings. Australia. Craftsman House.


Atneltyeye Country


Yam, Emu, Kangaroo, Wild Plum, Bush Turkey


Synthetic Polymer Paint on Linen and Canvas

Regional Map

Note: This map is a representation and not accurate. Some sites are sacred and therefore not shown.

Market Performance

Career Totals

AIAM100 Rank
AIAM100 Rating
Clearance Rate
Average Price
Total Price
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
0.0000 0.0641 0.0000 0.0000 0.3910 0.2530 0.2555 0.0917 0.1897 0.0000 0.1807 0.1595 0.0432 0.0349 0.0586 0.1165 0.0541 0.2623 0.0441
0/0 1/2 0/4 0/0 4/8 3/7 3/5 1/3 2/2 0/0 4/7 4/6 2/3 1/2 1/4 3/3 1/1 5/5 1/2
$0 $4,112 $0 $0 $9,558 $7,113 $7,252 $8,400 $9,000 $0 $2,040 $1,590 $468 $1,220 $3,436 $1,508 $2,924 $2,753 $1,949
Yearly Market Performance Graph from 2000 - 2018

Top 10 Artworks Sold at Auction


Yam Seed Dreaming 1999

sale price: $17,625.00
auction: Bonhams & Goodman, Sydney  lot: 13 date: 17/11/2004
120 x 270 cm Acrylic on Belgian linen

Yam Dreaming 2001

sale price: $12,000.00
auction: Lawson~Menzies, Sydney  lot: 64 date: 30/05/2006
120 x 122 cm Synthetic polymer on Belgian linen

Yam Dreaming, 2000

sale price: $10,800.00
auction: Lawson~Menzies, Sydney  lot: 120 date: 09/11/2005
205 x 120 cm Synthetic polymer paint on Belgian linen

Yam Dreaming 2001

sale price: $9,600.00
auction: Lawson~Menzies, Sydney  lot: 224 date: 10/12/2008
264 x 120 cm Synthetic polymer paint on canvas

Bush Yam, 2004

sale price: $9,600.00
auction: Lawson~Menzies, Sydney  lot: 122 date: 22/11/2006
190 x 210 cm Synthetic polymer paint on linen

Of My Country Aneltyeye 2000

sale price: $9,600.00
auction: Lawson~Menzies, Sydney  lot: 231 date: 25/05/2004
120 x 120 cm Synthetic polymer paint on linen

Yam Dreaming 2000

sale price: $8,400.00
auction: Lawson~Menzies, Sydney  lot: 225 date: 10/12/2008
210 x 152.5 cm Synthetic polymer paint on canvas

Of My Country, Aneltyeye

sale price: $8,400.00
auction: Sotheby's Australia Pty. Ltd., Sydney  lot: 72 date: 25/11/2007
152.5 x 122 cm Synthetic polymer paint on linen


sale price: $8,365.00
auction: Christie's , Sydney  lot: 113 date: 12/10/2004
122 x 122 cm Synthetic polymer paint on linen

Yam Dreaming, 1997

sale price: $5,760.00
auction: Shapiro Auctioneers, Sydney  lot: 66 date: 20/03/2005
120 x 90 cm Synthetic polymer paint on canvas

Available Artworks

Sorry There are currently no artworks available for this artist.