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Inaugural Auction Dedicated to Aboriginal Art at Sotheby's New York Achieves $2.8 Million

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    Inaugural Auction Dedicated to Aboriginal Art at Sotheby's New York Achieves $2.8 Million
    17.12.2019

The First Aboriginal Art Auction to Be Held In the United States by an International Auction House
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88% of Lots Sold 8 New Auction Records Set
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NEW YORK, 16 December 2019 – Sotheby’s Aboriginal Art auction, held in New York on 13 December 2019, achieved $2.8 million. The first Aboriginal Art auction to be held outside of Australia or Europe by an international auction house, the sale surpassed its high estimate with 88% of all lots sold and set eight new world auction records. Featuring modern and contemporary indigenous Australian art dating from the 1950s until the present, created by artists from the world’s oldest continuous culture, the auction continues Sotheby’s position as market leaders in the field since dedicated sales were established in 1997.

Timothy Klingender, Sotheby’s Senior Consultant Australian Art commented: “Friday’s results are a watershed moment for Aboriginal art, and an incredible introduction to auctions of Aboriginal art of this scale in the United States. To showcase these extraordinary works of art in Sotheby’s New York galleries was a significant statement of the value of these artists on the international market, and the response was very enthusiastic. Bidders were active from all over the world, with a large concentration of new bidders from the U.S. and Europe, further indicating the appeal of Aboriginal art to a growing international audience. It was equally thrilling to see a number of artist auction records established, setting a new standard for Aboriginal artists. We hope the results from this sale will mark a new era for Aboriginal artists to be recognized as significant contemporary artists in their own right.”

The auction was led by Summer Celebration, an early masterwork by Emily Kame Kngwarreye, which achieved $596,000 (estimate $300/400,000). On offer from the renowned European Collection of Thomas Vroom, the rare, large-scale work is not only a classic example of Kngwarreye’s abstract dot paintings but reflective of her experimentation with an extended color palette; the yellow, purple and pink tones demonstrate her broadening use of color as she moved away from strictly using natural earth tones. One of a series of large canvases painted in the heat of the Australian summer at the very end of 1991, Summer Celebration is among the first which Kngwarreye painted on such a vast scale, emphasizing the broad expanse of her country, and celebrating the seasonal cycle of the ever-flourishing landscape.

Exhibited in major museums in the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and Australia, Gordon Bennett’s icon of post-colonial postmodernism, Self Portrait (But I Always Wanted to Be One of The Good Guys) from 1990, sold for $437,500 (estimate $350/450,000) – setting a new auction record for the artist. A culmination of a series that Bennett had been working on throughout 1990, the monumental painting illustrates Bennett’s self-declared mission to upturn the colonialist assumptions of Australian national culture. Depicting a five-year old Bennett dressed in cowboy garb as he conjures frontier scenes appropriated from educational Australian social studies books, the painting is an illustration of the artist’s personal struggle with his identity as a child of the stolen generation.

Another auction record was set with Ronnie Tjampitjinpa’s Tingari Ceremonies at The Site of Pintjun, which fetched $243,750 (estimate $120/180,000). Hailing from the Collection of Gabrielle Pizzi, the work was recently featured on the cover of the catalogue for curator Kaspar König’s exhibition, ‘Remembering Forward – Australian Aboriginal Painting Since 1960,’ mounted by the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. A classic example of his style, Tingari Ceremonies at The Site of Pintjun features repetitive, geometric shapes and bold lines in the traditional four basic colors of black, red, yellow and white, representing the activities of the Tingari ancestors, and evoking the sacred powers of these supernatural creators, who established Pintupi law and ritual – a common theme throughout Tjampitjinpa’s oeuvre.

 

Additional auction records were established for:
Kayili Artists, Yunpalara (Lake Blair), $162,500
Mawalan Marika, The Seagull, $56,250
George (Tjampu) Tjapaltjarri, Karpadi, $68,750
Paddy Jupurrurla Nelson & Larry Jungarrayi Spencer, Yarla Jukurrpa (Bush Potato Dreaming), $40,000
Wentja Napaltjarri, Untitled, $22,500
Fred Ward Tjungurrayi, Patjanja, $13,125






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Klingendes Finale  

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LED BY:
The Crown

  • Lot 15 Property from the Collection of Thomas Vroom Emily Kame Kngwarreye Summer Celebration Painted in 1991 Synthetic polymer paint on canvas Bears Delmore Gallery catalogue number 91L04 47 5⁄8 in by 118 7⁄8 in (121 cm by 302 cm) Estimate $300/400,000 Sold for $596,000
    Lot 15 Property from the Collection of Thomas Vroom Emily Kame Kngwarreye Summer Celebration Painted in 1991 Synthetic polymer paint on canvas Bears Delmore Gallery catalogue number 91L04 47 5⁄8 in by 118 7⁄8 in (121 cm by 302 cm) Estimate $300/400,000 Sold for $596,000
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Lot 12 Gordon Bennett Self Portrait (But I Always Wanted to Be One of The Good Guys) Painted in Brisbane in 1990 Oil on canvas 59 in by 102 in (150 cm by 260 cm) Estimate $350/450,000 Sold for $437,500 RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION
    Lot 12 Gordon Bennett Self Portrait (But I Always Wanted to Be One of The Good Guys) Painted in Brisbane in 1990 Oil on canvas 59 in by 102 in (150 cm by 260 cm) Estimate $350/450,000 Sold for $437,500 RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Lot 11 Property from the Collection of Thomas Vroom Emily Kame Kngwarreye Untitled Painted at Delmore Downs Station, Northern Territory in November 1990 Synthetic polymer paint on canvas Bears Delmore Gallery catalogue number 0P01 83 1⁄2 in by 43 3⁄8 in (212 cm by 123 cm) Estimate $250/350,000 Sold for $350,000
    Lot 11 Property from the Collection of Thomas Vroom Emily Kame Kngwarreye Untitled Painted at Delmore Downs Station, Northern Territory in November 1990 Synthetic polymer paint on canvas Bears Delmore Gallery catalogue number 0P01 83 1⁄2 in by 43 3⁄8 in (212 cm by 123 cm) Estimate $250/350,000 Sold for $350,000
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Lot 13 Property from the Collection of Gabrielle Pizzi Ronnie Tjampitjinpa Tingari Ceremonies at the Site of Pintjun Painted in 1989 Synthetic polymer paint on linen Bears artist’s name and Papunya Tula Artists catalogue no. RT890931 on the reverse 60 in by 71 in (152 cm by 180 cm) Estimate $120/180,000 Sold for $243,750 RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION
    Lot 13 Property from the Collection of Gabrielle Pizzi Ronnie Tjampitjinpa Tingari Ceremonies at the Site of Pintjun Painted in 1989 Synthetic polymer paint on linen Bears artist’s name and Papunya Tula Artists catalogue no. RT890931 on the reverse 60 in by 71 in (152 cm by 180 cm) Estimate $120/180,000 Sold for $243,750 RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Lot 31 Property from a Private Australian Collection Kayili Artists Yunpalara (Lake Blair) Painted in 2005 Synthetic polymer paint on canvas 83 in by 87 1⁄2 in (210.5 cm by 222.5 cm) Estimate $70/100,000 Sold for $162,500 RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION
    Lot 31 Property from a Private Australian Collection Kayili Artists Yunpalara (Lake Blair) Painted in 2005 Synthetic polymer paint on canvas 83 in by 87 1⁄2 in (210.5 cm by 222.5 cm) Estimate $70/100,000 Sold for $162,500 RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Lot 9 Property from a British Private Collection Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula Camp at Walungurru - Dingo Camp at Tinki Painted at Papunya in November 1973 Synthetic polymer powder paint on composition board Bears Papunya Tula Artists catalogue number JW731201, and various other inscriptions on the reverse 48 in by 35 7⁄8 in (122 cm by 91 cm) Estimate $100/150,000 Sold for $162,500
    Lot 9 Property from a British Private Collection Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula Camp at Walungurru - Dingo Camp at Tinki Painted at Papunya in November 1973 Synthetic polymer powder paint on composition board Bears Papunya Tula Artists catalogue number JW731201, and various other inscriptions on the reverse 48 in by 35 7⁄8 in (122 cm by 91 cm) Estimate $100/150,000 Sold for $162,500
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Lot 32 Property from a Private Collection, Perth Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri Marawa Painted at Kiwirrkurra,Western Australia in 2012 Synthetic polymer paint on Belgian Linen Bears artist’s name and Papunya Tula Artists catalogue no. WT1207086 on the reverse 60 in by 72 in (153 cm by 183 cm) Estimate $50/80,000 Sold for $100,000
    Lot 32 Property from a Private Collection, Perth Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri Marawa Painted at Kiwirrkurra,Western Australia in 2012 Synthetic polymer paint on Belgian Linen Bears artist’s name and Papunya Tula Artists catalogue no. WT1207086 on the reverse 60 in by 72 in (153 cm by 183 cm) Estimate $50/80,000 Sold for $100,000
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus