AUSTRALIAN MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY ART PRICES AND TRENDS
As the 17th Sydney Biennale drew to a close, a recent article published on artprice.com reported on the improvement of the Australian modern and contemporary art market since 2007, despite its confinement to Sydney and Melbourne. There is a strong preference among Australian collectors for paintings, oil, acrylic and figurative work.
The article provides a list of the top ten Australian works which have been sold at the highest price between 2000 and 2010. Here is the list of the top five:
- First-Class Marksman (1946) by Sidney Robert Nolan (1917-1992): sold at USD4,103,100 by Menzies Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers in March 2010
- The Olgas for Ernest Giles (1985) by Brett Whiteley (1939-1992): sold at USD2,445,280 by Menzies Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers in June 2007
- The Old Time (1969) by John Cecil Brack (1920-1999): sold at USD2,301,320 by Sotheby’s in May 2007
- Opera House (1971-1982) by Brett Whiteley (1939-1992): sold at USD1,972,560 by Sotheby’s in May 2007
- The Bar (1954) by John Cecil Brack (1920-1999): sold at USD1,893,060 by Sotheby’s in April 2006
Brett Whiteley, named the “most sought Australian artist during the decade” by the article, produced The Olgas for Ernest Giles which has fetched over USD 2,400,000. It has been reported that “100 euros invested in one of his works in 1998 were worth an average of 555 euros by February 2010”.
Among the best results of 2009 and 2010 are the sales of works by Norman Alfred Williams Linsay which went for between USD100,000 and 235,000.
In the affordable USD10,000-40,000 price range are the best works by Frederick Cress and large watercolors by John Henry Olsen and Frederick Ronald Williams. In the higher USD40,000-120,000 price range are the still-lifes by Grace Cossington SMITH and tranquil landscapes by Lloyd Frederic REES.
Representing the young generation of artists loyal to the Australian figurative tradition are Rick Amor, Lin Onus and Vincent Fantauzzo. Rick Amor broke the USD100,000 line with The Waiter which fetched USD100,300 at Menzies Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers in May 2010. The value of Lin Onus’ Reflections, Barmah Forest leapt from USD100,600 less than seven years ago to USD200,600 in March 2010 at Deutscher & Menzies. Some of her oils on cardboard from the 1970s can be picked up at less than USD10,000. Vincent Fantauzzo’s portrait Brandon fetched USD 43,580 in June 2010 at Menzies Art Brands, Sydney.
While the purchase of contemporary art in Australia is picking up speed, the performance of Aboriginal art has been in serious decline since its peak in 2007. This may be because the buying spree of best works by Aboriginal art masters who have died in the last decade is gradually coming to an end.
- Balgo Hills art: Indigenous Australian art by renowned masters in rare tour through Asia – March 2010 – works by a small community of indigenious Australians in a touring exhibition
- The 17th Sydney Biennale – Art Radar rounds up highlights, disappointments and critiques – August 2010 – a round-up on this year’s Sydney Biennale which showcased a lot of Australian works
- The Problem of Asia: Para/Site art exhibition explores Asian identity in Sydney – May 2010 – a list of works in an exhibition in Sydney that tells about Asian identity
- ART HK 10 reports strong sales figures, lists major artworks sold – June 2010 – a list of major works sold in the HK international artfair this year
- Top 8 Art Radar search terms: contemporary art trends revealed – August 2010 – evaluate results with regard to contemporary art trends