Menzies Art Brands March 09 Art Auction Review On the 25th of March I attended the Menzies Art Brands auction at their Sydney office. As the first auction I was attending for 2009 I was rather excited to see exactly what the outcome would be
News-Antique.com - May 12,2009 - On the 25th of March I attended the Menzies Art Brands auction at their Sydney office. As the first auction I was attending for 2009 I was rather excited to see exactly what the outcome would be even though I had a pretty good idea how things would pan out. The turnout was good with every available seat reserved leaving plenty of people standing in the isles. A total of 80% of the 250 works on offer were sold for a total of $4,636,225 which in the current climate appears to be a very respectable total. However, when one takes into consideration that three of the highest valued works with a total value of around $1,400,000 failed to sell the result seems slightly less rosy. The work that was the saving grace of the night’s proceedings was a work by Russell Drysdale titled “The Young Ringer” which sold for $440,000 against an estimate of $400,000-$500,000. To be honest, I am not a big fan of this work at all but, because it had never been to auction, had spent most of it’s life in Britain and was first exhibited at a very important solo show of Drysdale’s work at Leicester Galleries in London, “The Young Ringer” is a desirable work of art. Bidding for the other, larger Drysdale painting titled “Diver, Broome” stalled at $550,000 falling short of the $600,000 - $800,000 estimate which resulted in a referral to the vendor. Considering that “Diver, Broome” sold for $600,000 in June 2007 makes the failure to sell this time round even more disconcerting.
On the Indigenous side of things, a rather nice large Rover Thomas painting titled “Bungullgi” fetched $440,000 against an estimate of $450,000 to $600,000. Not a bad result considering that “Bungullgi” last sold in November 2007 for $375,000 against an estimate of $500,000 to $700,000. Another fantastic Thomas titled “Cyclone Tracy - Willy Willy” also proved popular bringing in a respectable $240,000 against an estimate of $220,000-$260,000. “Cyclone Tracy - Willy Willy” last sold in November 2007 for $170,000. The other two big ticket works to sell on the night were Fred William’s “Lysterfield Hillside II” which sold for $400,000 against an estimate of $400,000-$500,000 and the Lloyd Rees landscape “A Song to Creation - Land” which made $420,000 (auction record for Rees) against an estimate of $450,000 -$550,000. Rees’ “A Song to Creation - Land” last sold in November 2007 for $320,000 against an estimate of $200,000-300,000 and Williams’ “A Song to Creation - Land” last sold in June 2007 for $400,000 against an estimate of $380,000-480,000. A good price for the Rees but not so great for the Williams.
Other than the Drysdale, the other major disappointments of the auction were Arthur Streeton’s Venice scene titled “The Giudecca Lagoon” which was passed in and referred to the vendor at $420,000 against an estimate of $450,000 to $550,000 and William Robinson’s “Tweed Valley Rainforest Ridge and Beechmont” which was passed in at $190,000 falling well short of