It could have been a scene from the art market peak of 2007; it could have even been a scene from a New York or London sale. Fast forward to March 24, 2013 and teleport to Sydney and you will be in the right time and place to witness a crowd of 300 people pack the Foundation Hall of Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) for the Bonhams Australia Laverty Collection sale. And boy was it an epic sale.
For a long five hours a building full of art lovers forgot that Ellen Degeneres was in town and went about recreating scenes from the past when Aboriginal art was fought over and auction records were a common occurrence. It is definitely too early to call this a turning point; this was, after all, a once in a blue moon event. Rarely are so many amazing works of art from such a significant private art collection released to the public – and the market responded appropriately.
A sale total of $5.054 million (IBP) – just short of the high estimate – and figures of 86.47% sold by lot 84% sold by value were just what the doctor ordered, for both Bonhams Australia and the ailing Australian art market. In addition to the great sale figures, new auction records were achieved for Peter Upward, Aida Tomescu, John Mawurndjul, Paji Honeychild Yankarr, Ildiko Kovacs, and Jan Billycan.
The sale was a great success for Bonhams Australia and a fantastic tribute to Colin Laverty. Stay tuned to ARTINFO Australia for a more in-depth analysis of the Laverty Collection sale.