Menzies Art Brands unveiled last evening their selection of artworks for the forthcoming Australian and International Fine Art Auction in Sydney on 24 June 2010. The comparatively modestly sized offering of roughly 130 works contains a number of outstanding, better than average paintings, works on paper, graphics, and sculpture by well-known artists. These include John Brack’s Backs and Fronts, Brett Whiteley’s Shui, Jeffrey Smart’s Holiday and Approach to a City III (both of which are well-known and have been widely reproduced). There is also a great Fred Williams of Saddle at the You Yangs; a couple of very good still lives by Justin O’Brien; a good early Arthur Boyd of Moby Dick Hill; a plethora of Nolans; and John Olsen’s ubiquitous frog. There are also a couple of late Tom Roberts landscapes from the 1920s, which are sadly not as sparkling and effervescent as Streetons of the same vintage. Speaking of whom – there is a charming mother and child by Streeton, a rare nude figure study in the artist’s oeuvre. There is also a good sprinkling of works by Norman Lindsay, including Three Graces, a charming watercolour in a remarkable condition.
Lovers of the early moderns would find a good selection of Ronald Wakelin landscapes; those with a penchant for the 1970s could be tempted by a stunning Roger Kemp. For those with a more contemporary bend, there is a good urban landscape by Rick Amor, a humorous and well painted dog by Tim Storrier, a striking Lin Onus, which almost competes in its subtlety with the nearby Philip Wolfhagen. Gordon Bennett’s Home Decor is perhaps one the strongest works in the contemporary selection; while Vince Fantauzzo’s Brendon, previously shown in the Archibald Prize, is definitely the strongest portrait painting in the present auction. Other contemporary market favourites on offer include Stephen Bush, Michael Zavros, Ex de Medici, and Patricia Piccinini.
What would be my pick of three items at the auction if $$$ were not an issue? Jeffrey Smart’s Holiday, which is a classic example of the artist’s oeuvre at his prime (est. $800,000-$1,000,000); Brett Whiteley’s Shui, a lyrical piece in luscious greens and blues (est. $500,000-$700,000); and the Gordon Bennett, a representative example from one of the artist’s best periods, an example of which is at the National Gallery of Victoria ($40,000-$50,000).
[© Eugene Barilo v. Reisberg 2010. This article is copyright, but the full or partial use is WELCOME with the full and proper acknowledgment]