DH March 09 Aboriginal Art Auction Pt. 2 - australianartmarket.com Continuing on from my last post on Deutscher and Hackett’s inaugural Aboriginal art auction which took place on the 25th of March, things started off well with the first two lots achieving prices
News-Antique.com - May 18,2009 - Continuing on from my last post on Deutscher and Hackett’s inaugural Aboriginal art auction which took place on the 25th of March, things started off well with the first two lots achieving prices above the high estimate and the third lot reaching the high estimate but things went downhill from there. The 45% of works that failed to sell are evidence enough that the auction was far from a success but further analysis of the results reveals an even less encouraging picture. Overall, 80 of the 146 works that sold didn’t make the low estimate, 49 sold for within the estimate and the remaining 17 sold for above the estimate. Not only was the percentage of works sold by number really low but out of the works that actually did sell, the percentage of works that sold for within or above the estimate was low as well.
On a more positive not, Emily Kngwarreye’s “Untitled (Alhalkere) 1995″ sold for $210,000 against an estimate of $150,000 – 200,000. A fantastic provenance and exhibition history combined with the fact that this was the first time the work had been to auction ensured that bidders had more than enough reasons to justify paying good money for “Untitled (Alhalkere) 1995″. The previous lot, also by Emily Kngwarreye, once again sailed past the high estimate bringing in $30,000 against an estimate $15,000 to $18,000. Twenty lots later, another two of Emily’s works wen under the hammer the first of which continued the trend selling for $72,500 against an estimate of $50,000-$60,000. The final Emily work in the sale failed to elicit the same positive response as the others and was passed in after failing to reach the $45,000-$55,000 estimate. It was rather surprising that the fourth Emily failed to sell considering that it was a rather nice work that had not been to auction before and had the same solid provenance and authenticity as the others. Regardless, the three Emily’s that did sell were a minor triumph for DH as well as the market for Emily’s work which continues to remain strong even in the current climate.
Other than the three Emily Kngwarreye works, only four other works managed to break through the $20,000 barrier leaving another twelve works with a mid estimate above $20,000 unsold. Of these twelve passed in works the most significant (other than the Emily) were a large major work by Til Leura Tjapaltjarri titled “Water Dreaming” 1977 which failed to reach the rather optimistic estimate of $100,000-$120,000 and “Ngarrtjapiritjinn” by Joseph Jurra Tjapaltjarri which was passed in with an estimate of $50,000-$70,000. The overall vibe generated by the results of this auction is that the market for Aboriginal art has lost some of it’s momentum and appeal as the entire art market continues on a path of caution and conservatism while we all take stock of the past and plan for the future.
Deutscher and Hackett said in their press release that “deutscher and hackett is excited to be entering