Grosvenor School Gusto and John Brack Acrobatics at DH Art Auction

Grosvenor School Gusto and John Brack Acrobatics at DH Art Auction
Cyril Power "THE TUBE STATION", c1932 (DETAIL) 25.0 x 29.0 cm colour linocut on oriental tissue $30,000 – 50,000
(Image source: Deutscher and Hackett)

Australian auctioneers Deutscher and Hackett will be hoping that the decision to hold their 28th November auction as one sale with two parts, incorporating both the Aboriginal art and Australian/international art, will pay dividends. 

The choice to hold an all-in-one sale, and publish a catalogue incorporating both the Aboriginal art and Australian/international art sections of the sale, was motivated by a desire to expose buyers of non-Indigenous art to the Indigenous art and vice versa.

Leading the auction are three fantastic in-vogue Grosvenor School prints by Cyril Power and Ethel Spowers, the highlight of which is Power's The Tube Station (estimate $30,000 – 50,000).  A spectacular exploration of movement, time and space, The Tube Station is both a technical and artistic triumph.

The sense of tension in Howard Arkely’s Spray Veneer (Venice A Sprizzo), 1994, estimated to fetch $250,000 – 300,000, presents an interesting parallel to the dynamism of the Grosvenor School works. 

An investigation of urban iconography that inhabits an uncomfortable space somewhere between past, present and future, Arkley’s epic painting asks the viewer to question their sense of place as well as the role of “place” in the development of identity.

One of the most intriguing works by Jeffrey Smart to appear on the market in recent times, Mr T.S. Eugenides, Morning, Shaftesbury Avenue, 1978 is a surreal image that epitomises Smart’s uncanny ability to extract stillness and spirituality from urban and industrial environments.

Another noteworthy inclusion is John Brack’s Assembly, 1989 – a gravity-defying balancing act that oozes tension.   In recently produced notes on this painting, Helen Brack writes:  “The configuration of the table and the pencils is at once both a very dark and bright image set against a diffused grey ground.

“The stem of the table forms an image of a club, a primitive weapon of defense and attack. It also bears an obvious reference to the rocket ship and the outer-space nuclear capsule at ‘blast off’, therefore triggering an upward movement within the composition.”

The Indigenous section of the sale is filled with a diverse array of traditional-style paintings as well as some great contemporary works by artists such as Darren Siwes, Shane Pickett and Christian Thompson.

With an estimate of $120,000 – 150,000, Emily Kngwarreye’s Merne – Bush Tucker, My Country, 1995 is the most valuable of the Indigenous works in the sale.  Measuring 190.5 x 107.0 cm, the painting, from her sacred grasses series, was exhibited in Japan in 2008 as part of the "Utopia: The Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye" exhibition.

Lena Yarinkura’s camp dog sculptures are a particularly delightful addition to the sale.  Collectors and investors should take note that these sculptures have been repatriated from a private collection in the United States of America.

Also of interest to collectors and investors will be the fantastic works by highly desirable artists such as Rover Thomas, Paddy Bedford, Kitty Kantilla and Tommy Watson.

The full auction catalogue can be viewed here

Important Australian + International Fine Art Auction, Melbourne

Wednesday 28 November
105 Commercial Road
South Yarra VIC 3141

Followed by

Important Aboriginal Art Auction, Melbourne

Wednesday 28 November
105 Commercial Road
South Yarra VIC 3141