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Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula

Old Man's Story - 1971

synthetic polymer paint on composition board
31.0 x 38.0 cm
Price Realised: $8,540.00

MP #399


Stuart Art Centre, Alice Springs, NT, Cat No. 48
Private Collection, NT
Joel Fine Art, June 2008, Lot No. 159
Private Collection, Vic


bears Stuart Art Centre label with title, artist's name, a drawing with identification annotations by Pat Hogan, together with the annotation '2 Con No 48' verso

Artwork 31 x 38 cm : Frame 57.5 x 66 cm

Born at Mintjilpirri, north west of the Kangaroo Dreaming site of Ilpili soakage Johnny Warangkula first encountered ‘white fellas’ at just 12 years of age. He moved in to Papunya with his first wife, shortly after its establishment and by the time Geoff Bardon arrived in 1971, he was a member of the Papunya Council alongside Mick Namarari.


He was quick to express interest in painting and rapidly developed a distinctive style achieving notoriety for his calligraphic line and smearing brushwork. During his first 15 years as a painter Warangkula was foremost amongst those who fundamentally shaped the Papunya art movement and he went on to sustain a 30-year career as a painter.

This small work is known to be only the fourth work that this seminal Western Desert painter ever created. It was catalogued one week prior to Billy Stockman's renowned Wild Potato Dreaming (2 Con 49) that sold at Sotheby's in 1998 for $201,500 setting a new high watermark for any Aboriginal painting at that time. It was sold by Pat Hogan, along with a number of the most important Papunya works ever created, from the second consignment of work from Papunya at the very dawn of the Western Desert art movement in 1971.