Aboriginal Art Market Shows Signs of Life at Deutscher and Hackett Sale

Aboriginal Art Market Shows Signs of Life at Deutscher and Hackett Sale
FISH, BARMAH FOREST, c1994 by Lin Onus (detail)
(Courtesy Deutscher and Hackett)

Three days after Bonhams Australia made headlines with their highly successful Laverty Collection sale in Sydney, Melbourne based auction house Deutscher and Hackett again proved the power of single owner collections.

Following the high prices achieved by Bonhams for three Emily Kngwarreye paintings from the Laverty Collection, Deutscher and Hackett offered 19 paintings by Emily from the Delmore Collection during their 27 March Important Aboriginal + Oceanic Art Auction sale.

 

Deutscher and Hackett sold all but three of the Emily Kngwarreye paintings from the Delmore Collection for a combined total of $853,800 (including premium). The most expensive work from the Collection was an early painting by the artist titled “Yam Tracking, 1990 which sold for $156,000 (IBP) against an estimate of $80,000 – 120,000. 

Competing with the Emily’s for the attention of collectors of Aboriginal art was the most talked about work of Deutscher and Hackett sale, a wonderful sketchbook of 14 images by the nineteenth century Aboriginal artist Aboriginal artist Tommy McRae. Estimated to fetch between $200,000 and 300,000, the sketchbook sold for $228,000.

Although the McRae sketchbook was the most talked about and the collection of Emily paintings the most anticipated lots of the sale, it was a painting by Lin Onus that ended up stealing the show. The artist’s “Fish, Barmah Forest, 1994” sold for $294,000 (IBP) against an estimate of $160,000 – 250,000, the second highest price for the artist at auction. The auction record for Lin Onus is $396,000 achieved for “Water Lillies and Evening Reflections, Dingo Springs” by Deutscher Menzies in 2006.

Good prices were also achieved for a late 19th / early 20th century Queensland rainforest shield which sold for $36,000 against an estimate of $30,000 – 40,000 and a painting by Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri that fetched $57,600 against an estimate of $35,000 – 45,000.

The auction total for the 27 March sale was $1,782,840 (IBP) and the sale figures were 78% sold by volume and 85% sold by value.