Posts Tagged ‘Art Auction


Day 324: Untitled, by Stanislaus Rapotec

Rapotec Mossgreen

Day 324: Untitled, by Stanislaus Rapotec

Stan Rapotec’s Untitled Abstract (1962) is another outstanding work featuring in the current Spring Auction Series at Mossgreen (lot 812, est AUD $10,000-15,000). It was displayed – as things at auctions frequently are – surrounded by paintings, furniture and decorative art objects from every possible era and country of origin. Yet among the ensuing cacophony of styles and colours, Rapotec’s painting stood out with the strength of its own laconic black-and-white starkness.

As Rapotec usually titled all his works, we can only assume that the original title of this work has been either forgotten or lost. Paintings by Rapotec, who was a Yugoslavian military hero during the Second World War, and who became one of the major exponents of Abstract Expressionism in Australia during the 1960s and 1970s, are frequently influenced by a strong religious feeling or express an emotion, sensation, or movement within his immediate environment.

Therefore, in Rapotec’s works of this period we frequently encounter the artist’s response to a religious edifice or a sacred text; or an ‘experience’ of a particular weather condition, season of the year, or place. The energy and the sensation of a forward surge contained within this painting suggest a possibility of it emanating from the latter sensibility.

Further research would undoubtedly uncover the original title and intent behind this striking composition; while a light conservational cleaning would bring back its majestic black-and-white crispness.

[© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2012; where applicable, images are courtesy of the artists and their galleries]


Day 323: Goldfish, by Charles Wheeler

Wheeler Mossgreen

Day 323: Goldfish, by Charles Wheeler

This elegant painting by Charles Wheeler from the turn of last century features in Mossgreen’s current Spring Auction Series (lot 397, est AUD $30,000-$40,000). It shows a studio model gazing with abandon into a spherical goldfish bowl. The composition, that appears to be so simple and elegant at first glance, is in fact quite complex. The whole action of the painting occurs within the left third of the canvas. The outline of the model’s head, her hand, the shape of the bowl, and even the movement of the goldfish in the bowl creates a constant elliptical movement, a vortex almost, from which the viewers are unable to extricate their gaze. It is also the vortex, from which all other elliptical shapes within the painting emanate, and we can see them echoed in the silhouette of the model’s body and the arrangement of her limbs.

Her body is, once again, confined to the upper third of the painting, leaving the central and lower-right-hand-side of the painting at the risk of appearing virtually empty and bland. And yet we do not have this sensation when looking at the picture. Wheeler is skilfully exercising the academic balance of the golden mean, where the action within the left and upper sides of the composition balance the calmness and inaction within the rest of the work, while the overall gamut – and especially the flashes of pinks and turquoises – further unite the disparate elements within the composition.

The model is so absorbed in the interplay of the goldfish that she is completely unaware of the viewer. As the result, the viewer becomes the voyeur. The subdued, dusty, pastel-like gamut of Charles Wheeler’s palette and the tight cropping of the composition further imbue the painting with the sense of intimacy and closeness.

[© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2012; where applicable, images are courtesy of the artists and their galleries]


Australian & International Fine Art @ Menzies, Melbourne

Jeffrey Smart HolidayThursday, 10 June 2010

Dear Diary,

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.

Brett Whiteley ShuiLovers 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).

Gordon Bennett Home DecorHappy shopping!!!

[© Eugene Barilo v. Reisberg 2010. This article is copyright, but the full or partial use is WELCOME with the full and proper acknowledgment]

Eugene Barilo v. Reisberg

February 2019
« Nov    


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 103 other followers