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  • Writer's pictureVan Weyenbergh Fine Art

Aboriginal art makes his debut in auctions in New York

On December 13, the first Aboriginal art auction to be held in an international auction house outside of Australia or Europe was held in New York . For Tim Klingender, a specialist in Australian art at Sotheby's, this is a "turning point for Aboriginal art" .

The sale exceeded the original estimate by more than $ 1 million by $ 1.7 million. Out of the 33 works put up for auction, 29 found a buyer.

Native Australian art has always attracted interest from buyers, but sales have so far been reserved for specialized auction houses, usually in Europe or Australia. For Tim Klingender, "presenting these extraordinary works of art on Sotheby's premises in New York affirms the value of these artists on the international market" .

The flagship work of the sale was signed by painter Emily Lame Kngwarreye, who lived in Alhalkere, in the Utopia community, about 250 km north of Alice Springs and is considered one of the most famous in the history of contemporary Aboriginal Australian art. Estimated at $ 400,000, the work in question, Summer Celebration (1991), was sold for almost $ 600,000. Other works of art have also been very successful, including the self-portrait of Gordon Bennett, also a member of the Utopia community, sold for $ 437,000.

Sotheby's vacation coincides with a series of exhibitions that have taken place recently across the United States. In the fall, the Menil collection from Houston (Texas) presented more than 100 paintings by Aboriginal artists from the 1950s as part of the exhibition "Mapa Wiya (Your Map's Not Needed): Australian Aboriginal Art from the Fondation Opale ".

The most striking exhibition is that of the Gagosian Gallery in New York, which was held between May and July last. From the collection of Hollywood actor Steve Martin, "Desert Painters of Australia" included works by Kngwarreye as well as more recent paintings by artists from the desert regions of central and western Australia. Le Journal des Arts

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