Since their exit from the Australian market in 2006, Christie’s have continued to hold sales of Australian art in London. Continuing the tradition, Christie’s will offer 98 lots of modern and contemporary Australian art during their Australian Art sale on the 10th of October to be held at their South Kensington saleroom.
Leading the sale is a highly desirable, fresh-to-market painting by Russell Drysdale titled Green-hide Jack at the Mail-box, 1950 that has been in the same private UK collection since it was originally purchased. Bought in 1950 from an exhibition of Drysdale’s painting at Leicester Gallery in London, the first London show for Drysdale, the painting was sold on the opening night of the exhibition to an English collector and is expected to fetch £200,000 - £300,000 at auction.
Commenting on Drysdale’s first London exhibition, G.S.Whittet wrote in 1951 that “One of the winter's outstanding exhibitions was that by Russell Drysdale at the Leicester Galleries. It was his first exhibition in England and the pictures were well chosen. He paints Australia in its open landscapes, its rather primitive settlements and its people at work and at play, with unsentimental frankness.”
A rare unpublished illustrated journal by British artist Mary Anne Friend documenting a voyage to Hobart in 1829-30 on the Wanstead - a merchant vessel under the command of the the artist’s husband Matthew Curling Friend - is another highlight of the sale which is being offered with an estimate of £100,000 - £150,000.
Included in the journal are three watercolours of the fledgling settlement of the Swan River colony in its very first year, illustrating the beginnings of the colony of Western Australia. The journal is illustrated with a total of 37 watercolours on paper and rice paper and is being offered for sale by Friend’s heirs.
Figure holding canvas, 1973 is a spectacular yet challenging painting by Arthur Boyd, sourced from a Monaco private collection, that is being offered for sale with an estimate of £40,000 - £60,000. Part of the artist’s Caged Painter series which was painted in London, the painting is being offered for sale for the first time since being purchased in 1973.
According to Christie’s, “In the present work, the caged painter is set against the barren and desolate Shoalhaven landscape, surrounded by familiar motifs of red flowers, the ram dog-like creature, and the crows circling and observing from the trees, a reminder again of the eternal cycle of love and death as seen in the Bride series”.
Also included in the sale are significant paintings by Sidney Nolan, John Peter Russell, Rupert Bunny, Leonard French, Ray Crooke and Clifton Pugh. The sale will take place on the 10th of October at Christie’s London, South Kensington saleroom.
The full sale catalogue can be viewed here