Welcome to the first Cooee Art MarketPlace Aboriginal Fine Art offering for 2019. Our June 4th multi-vendor auction features 105 lots including 36 works from the estate of collector and art enthusiast Mike Chandler. The estimated value is $750,000 - $1.4 million.
Mike Chandler was a close friend and client who patronised Cooee and other prominent galleries around Australia. For more than 2 decades Mike, and his delightful wife Barbie were welcome additions to any event or exhibition. Though Barbie’s death two years ago affected him deeply, he still made an effort to visit galleries, exhibitions and to champion Aboriginal art amongst his family and friends. We will miss him greatly. The paintings from his estate are offered as Lots 46 – 75 preceded by a short tribute. These artworks will be on display in our Bondi showroom with a special preview on Saturday 22nd May at 2pm.
Sale highlights include a highly significant early Papunya board by Johnny Scobie Tjapanangka (Lot No. 16) that has been returned to Australia from the US. Women’s Dreaming, 1972, 63 x 72.5 cm, estimated at $40,000 - 60,000, is believed to be the only painting that Scobie created during the Bardon years. An illustration of this work and accompanying notes including a copy of the original field note and drawing is reproduced in Geoffrey Bardon and James Bardon’s magnum opus on the origins of the Western Desert Painting Movement.* An even earlier Papunya board, Lot No.15, is a genuine sleeper. Created in 1971 it was just the fourth painting ever created by Johnny Warrangkula Tjupurrula and carries the very conservative estimate of $8,000 - 11,000.
Contemporary urban works by Lin Onus and Richard Bell stand out in this offering. Major works by Onus have been hotly contested in recent sales. Smaller works on illustration board are very tightly held by their owners as they are both beautiful and exceedingly rare. Gumurring Garkman, 1994 is a delightful image in Lin’s most successful style. Used as the template for one of Onus’s most enduringly popular fine art prints, this original work is estimated at $50,000 - 60,000 (Lot 21). A treasure awaiting any discriminating collector.
Richard Bell’s, A White Hero for Black Australia, presents one of the most iconic sporting images of all time in the artist’s signature graphic style. The subject is the medal ceremony for the 200-metres at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Peter Norman, Australia’s five-time national champion stands with African American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos. More than just a compliant bystander, it was Norman who procured the Human Rights badges they wore, and Norman who suggested the black athletes share the same pair of gloves. The work measuring 100 x 150 cm is estimated $25,000 - 35,000 (Lot 20).
Other works worthy of note are the stunning pair of Mokoy Spirits by Telstra Art Award winner Nawurapu Wunugmurra(Lot 24) (Est $10,000 - 15,000), a lovely offering of 10 small boards depicting aspects of the Old Texas cattle station by Queenie McKenzie ( Est $15,000 - 20,000), and a magnificent major work by Minnie Pwerle with a very contemporary edge (Lot 36, Est. $25,000 - 35,000), and a number of fine works by Emily Kame Kngwarreye.
The sale is peppered with a number of lovely old bark paintings by Arnhem Land masters and a number of 19th and early 20th century artefacts.
We look forward to hearing from you or seeing you in person in the lead up to the auction. The quality of the artworks on offer is exceptional and our buyer’s premium is only 20% - less than that of other auction houses. You can discover a wealth of information on all of the major artists whose works are included in this catalogue as well as detailed information about the content and subjects of the artworks.
Adrian Newstead OAM
*Geoffrey Bardon and James Bardon Papunya, A Place Made After the Story, The Beginnings of the Western Desert Painting Movement,
The Miegunyah Press, Melbourne, 2004, p372
66.5 x 55.0 cm
Price Realised: $1,830.00
198.0 x 198.5 cm
Price Realised: $4,148.00
133.0 x 187.5 cm
Price Realised: $3,660.00
134.0 x 143.0 cm
Price Realised: $3,904.00
Height:253 x 0.0 cm
Price Realised: $4,392.00
Height:51 x 0.0 cm
EST. $1,000 - $1,500
Height:40 x 0.0 cm
EST. $1,000 - $1,500
Height:58 x 0.0 cm
Price Realised: $1,464.00
Height:67 x 0.0 cm
EST. $1,200 - $1,600
Height:41 x 0.0 cm
Price Realised: $610.00
100.0 x 150.0 cm
EST. $25,000 - $35,000
Height:62and71.5 x 0
Price Realised: $1,585.00
20.5 x 29.0 cm
Price Realised: $2,684.00
29.0 x 20.5 cm
Price Realised: $2,684.00
56.0 x 76eah cm
EST. $15,000 - $18,000
91.5 x 46.0 cm
Price Realised: $1,830.00
90.0 x 60.0 cm
Price Realised: $1,220.00
synthetic polymer paint and ink on illustration board
49.0 x 74.0 cm
EST. $50,000 - $70,000
Purchased directly from the Artist's Estate, Vic
Cooee Art Gallery, NSW
Private Collection, Vic
Queensland Art Gallery, Qld
Benalla Regional Gallery, Vic
Artwork 49 x 74 cm : Frame 80 x 104 cm
Lin Onus played a pivotal role in the emergence of urban Aboriginal art through his practice as an artist and advocate. A Yorta Yorta man from Cumeraganga on the Murray River, he grew up in urban Melbourne strongly influenced by the work of realist painters including Albert Namatjira and began his own career as a watercolorist and photorealist. Onus's work evolved after his 'adoption' by Arnhem Land Elders in the mid 1980s conferred upon him the right to use certain traditional stories and designs. This enabled him to develop a distinctive visual language. Through a fusion of Western and Aboriginal systems of organising space, vision and design he sought to portray landscape as a carrier of myth, history, and ideology.
In this, and other works on a similar theme, Onus depicted the Dreaming reality encoded in the landscape. Here frogs, painted with traditional body markings, sit with their heads popping above the surface of the water in a still pond surrounded by gum trees. The work conveys the message that beyond the immediately apparent lies the Dreaming reality, accessible if one is open to its presence.
Lin Onus employed many different innovative and time-saving techniques in the creation of his photo-realist and graphic works. To create many of his original paintings he made stamps made of foam and rubber, and sponges, to paint entire surfaces of stipple and leaves that were later completed using brushes to refine the outlines and highlights. He would paint under-surface features and subsequently use screens (on art boards such as this) to create the basic structure and content of the work and then rework the image or paint over elements to add highlights and areas of light and shade.
This original work was later used as the template for a limited edition fine art print of the same name.
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