Indigenous art reaches record

Among those were two works by Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri painted at the beginning and end of his career, which sold for more than A$411,000 each.

Sotheby’s director of Aboriginal art Tim Klingender said the auction house was delighted with the results.

“International bidding was particularly strong, with the two major lots both selling internationally to collectors in the US and France. Australian institutions also secured several works for national
collections,” he said.

“The two auction records set by Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, both his most important early work and an acclaimed monumental piece completed towards the end of his career, animated the room as they were fiercely pursued by a number of collectors. They now jointly hold the auction record,” Mr Klingender said.

One was the artist’s Emu Corroboree Man 1972, (46 x 61.5cm) and the second was Man’s Love Story 1993-1994, (184 x 457cm).

Paddy Stewart Tjapaltjarri’s reinterpretation of his original Yuendumu doors sold for more than A$253,000 to benefit the community art centre at Yuendumu.

“They were fiercely contested and achieved a sale price well in excess of their high estimate,” Mr Klingender said.

“Auction records for individual artists were set throughout the night, testament to the ongoing strength of the indigenous Australian art market,” he said.

Rover Thomas’s Rain Cloud 1990 sold for A$329,500 and his Painting No. E, Barramundi Dreaming sold for more than A$170,000 ahead of a sale of his Lundari (Barramundi Dreaming) next month, which is expected to fetch more than A$1 million.

Aboriginal art experts say Lundari is the most important Aboriginal painting to go on sale.

Painted in 1985, it has been part of the Holmes a Court Collection since 1986 and will go under the auctioneer’s hammer on August 30 at Christies in Melbourne.