David Aspden is considered one of Australia’s foremost ‘colour-field’ abstraction painters. Gaining prominence in the 1960s he continued painting up until his death in 2005. Inspired by colour, music and landscape, this monumental painting is one of the finest examples of the artist’s mastery at conveying the relationships between these themes.
The composition is a visual melody that gently shifts as the eye focuses on the changing areas of colour. Similar to the Jazz music he loved, the lyrical approach to his painting is emphasised in Pennant Hills by the energetic gestural marks that dance across the canvas. Aspden worked cleverly with the harmony and collision of colours, conveyed in the subject work with softs hues of cool mauves and purples juxtaposed with warm tones of pinks and reds.
Zadok Ben-David’s fine and exquisite sculptures play with shadow and light. So typical of his work, Up and Above explores the renewal and connectedness of natural forms.
Ben-David is an internationally acclaimed London-based artist. Born in Yemen and raised in Israel, he studied at London’s St. Martin’s School of art, where he also taught from 1977-1982. In 1988 he was selected to exhibit as Israel’s representative at the Venice Biennale.
Modiste Garnissant un Chapeau (Milliner Trimming a Hat)
charcoal on paper
44.5 x 55.6 cm
Galerie Georges Petit, 3ème Vente Atelier Edgar Degas, Paris, 5th April 1919, Lot 400 Christie’s, New York, 14th November 1996, Lot 130
Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale 24 June 2014. Lot 395
Edgar Degas was a prodigious draughtsman. Modiste garnissant un chapeau exemplifies his talent for capturing the elegance of a gesture and the beauty in a fleeing pose. His drawings, pastels and oils were regularly exhibited together at the Impressionist exhibitions. This work captures the graceful movements of a milliner leaning over her client, trimming a broad-brimmed hat. Degas’ series of images of millinery shops appeared in the 1880s. He would frequently accompany friends to their appointments, entranced by the delicate work of the milliner’s hands as they trimmed hats with colourful feathers and sumptuous materials. This magnificent work may have been a preparatory drawing for the 1891-95 pastel of the same title. The latter was acquired from the artist’s studio sale by Ambroise Vollard, the most important French art dealer of the early twentieth century.
Considered one of Australia’s greatest painters, Ian Fairweather created this work at Bribie Island in Moreton Bay off the coast of Brisbane, Queensland. In 1953, after years of nomadic wanderings throughout Asia, the Scottish born artist settled on the scrubby island where he lived a reclusive and ascetic existence in a studio-shack built of driftwood and scrap.
At this rudimentary shack with no running water or electricity, Fairweather created powerful paintings and drawings of extreme beauty and profound sensitivity. This work, painted in 1959, is among a group described in Murray Bail’s definitive book, Ian Fairweather.
‘Towards the end of 1959 Fairweather was at an age – approaching seventy – when most artists opt for safety, or find themselves on shallow exhausted ground. Earlier in 1959 he had exhibited War and Peace; by November he made the leap into the unknown demanded by total abstraction. If not exactly a leap, a final slide.
Am sending today one package of paintings (20). They are mostly done on newspaper (as I ran out of other paper) . . . They are also (mostly) without titles – for they really refer (mostly) to nothing in particular – sort of soliloquies – I suppose will have to come under the heading of abstracts.
They were gouaches and (mostly) grey: black on grey, grey with brown, grey mixed with blue and one with an uncharacteristic lipstick pink.’ 1
1 Murray Bail, Ian Fairweather (First published in Australia 1981 by Bay Books) p. 160
This distinctive assemblage of retro-reflective road signs epitomises Rosalie Gascoigne’s poetic use of found objects, particularly those containing text. Cut up into fragments, rearranged and composed in a grid formation, the panels display orderly shapes of text against a bright yellow background with light-reflecting properties and a subtle ability to shimmer and shine.
Salvaged from the roadside or from rural tips and depots, Gascoigne used retro-reflective road sign material throughout her 25-year artistic career, which started when she was 57 years old. During this period she became one of the key figures in twentieth century Australian art.
Through her lyrical reuse of materials once part of the landscape, Gascoigne sought to transform her deeply felt experiences of the harsh rural Monaro district where she lived. Foraging its environs for discarded materials, Gascoigne created idiosyncratic works from an assortment of found objects – old wooden bottle crates, weathered fence palings, corrugated iron, worn linoleum – but her reuse of brightly coloured orange and yellow retro-reflective road signs is her most recognisable signature.
Frequently referred to as visual poetry, Gascoigne’s art employs techniques of fragmentation, repetition and juxtaposition – and while letters in her work are not coherent, language is central to the message and layered meaning. Her reuse of the light reflective material is equally important:
“I don’t want it to be dramatically lit, but I do want it to sometimes flash at you, as road signs do, and then go sullen, then flash, like a living thing” Rosalie Gascoigne, 1988.
In the Autumn of 1825, Glover travelled to Scotland, including the Western Highlands. On the front page of his sketch book ’48, he notes both the dates of the journey (August 30 to October 27) and the fact that he ‘made 158 sketches and 6 pictures in oil’. Not only is there a study for this work in the sketchbook (f19v), but it is also listed amongst those completed during the tour. It shows a view south-west from Garroch Head across the Sound of Bute to North Arran and the deep valley of Glen Sannox, with the ruins of St Blane’s church to the right.
Glover may have gone to the west coast to visit the Marquess of Bute at Mount Stuart, near Rothesay. Two drawings in the same sketchbook show views from the “lower terrace at Mount Stuart”. His Lordship’s grandfather, the 1st Marquess, had been a great connoisseur of paintings and manuscripts, and his collection included a Raphael, a Velasquez, two Titians and numerous Dutch and Flemish paintings, amongst them a Rembrandt, two Cuyps and four Rubens. However, the 2nd Marquess suffered from a severe eye disease and was near blind. It is unlikely that he took much notice of paintings and painters. Lady Bute, on the other hand seems to have had cultural interests, and may have patronised Glover. John Richardson Glover’s will includes a reference to a “telescope with the apparatus appertaining thereto which was presented to my father by Lady Bute”.
Whatever the nature of the visit, it certainly proved productive. The following year, glover showed eight Scottish subjects at the Society of British Artists. Six (including this one) were of Bute and Arran. This work either did not sell at the time or was kept by the artist as a favourite, for it was one of the pictures included in his emigration sale of 1830. (A8182)
metal, resin and plaster pills and watercolour on canvas
27.9 x 35.5cm
Private Collection, Australia
Science UK Limited, London
Twenty Four Hours is an artwork from Hirst’s Remedies series, which was featured in Damien Hirst: Poisons + Remedies, anexhibitionat Gagosian Gallery, London in 2010. Works in the Remediesseries hold motifs of both redemption and antidote in their topographical depictions of real-like coloured resin and plaster pills scattered on a white canvas. The execution of realism in Hirst’s work is heightened in the washes of watercolour smudged into the white canvas around some pills conveying their active and absorptive chemical qualities. Underpinning the power of pharmaceutical substances Hirst expands on an earlier series of medicine cabinets, which he did in 1989 where pharmaceutical drugs were also featured in wall-mounted cabinets.
John Mawurndjul is one of the most senior artists working in the Maningrida region of Central Arnham Land and one of our country’s leading Aboriginal artists, renowned for his innovative ‘raark’ stye of rhythmic, cross-hatching, derived from the Mardayin ceremony and traditional body painting. Mawurndjul’s innovative treatment of these designs has involved a gradual movement into deeper abstraction and amplification of the shimmering, mesmerising qualities of his layered fine lines and multidirectional bands of colour.
In 2006 the artist was invited to create two original pieces for installation at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris: these works form part of the very fabric of the building with a breathtaking ceiling by Mawurndjul accompanied by a large column that he painted in the signature style of his Lorrkon or hollow logs.
Robert Chapman esqire, Debdnen Manor, Debden, Saffron Walden Essex, United Kingdom
Private collection, Sydney
New Grafton Gallery, London 1987
Browse and Darby Gallery, London 2015
A foundering member of the ‘London Group’ in 1914, John Nash was a British painter of still life and landscape, a wood engraver and illustrator, with a particular love for botanical works. He was the younger brother of Paul Nash and is revered for his capacity as a fine colourist and draftsman. Nash’s most famous painting, ‘Over the top’, is in the Imperial War Museum and the artist’s exquisite ‘Cornfield’ is in the collection of the Tate Gallery, London.
In 1923 Nash became a member of the ‘Modern English Watercolour Society’, worked in Dorset, Bath and Bristol in the middle 1920s and between 1924 and 1929 taught at the ‘Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art’, Oxford.
Australian Galleries, Melbourne (label attached verso);
Private collection, Sydney
Australian Galleries, Melbourne, 23 October 22 November 1995 (label attached verso);
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Margaret Olley Retrospective, 25 October 1996 5 January 1997, Sydney, Brisbane, Newcastle (label attached verso)
Metamorphosis: Still Life into a Landscape is from Olsen’s much loved kitchen series. The aquatic ingredients for a delicious paella float within, above and beyond the pan, loosely joined by an almost calligraphic, dancing line which plays across the gentle golden picture plain. A high horizon hints at the vastness of the Australian landscape in this joyous and gentle picture, a mature work from one of our country’s most celebrated living artists.
William Robinson began painting his farmyard scenes in the 1980s, after he had moved to rural Brisbane in the 1970s. Having spent much time in the company of his farm animals Robinson came to uncover their individual humorous, yet whimsical nature in his paintings.
signed ‘William Robinson, 2003’ lower right corner
Private collection, Queensland
It has been said that William Robinson has changed the way we perceive the Australian landscape. His vision is a unique one and paintings from the artist’s most popular rainforests series reveal the enduring power of nature from a multi-dimensional perspective. These paintings inspire awe with their multi-perspective views of the lush rainforest canopy and as a viewer one feels swept into, around and throughout the picture.
In 2003 Robinson’s major works were surveyed at the S.H Ervin Gallery in Sydney. The year 2003 was a high point in the artist’s career and the rainforest paintings from this period are widely regarded to be among the artist’s finest works.
One of the first two Indigenous artists to represent Australia at the 1990 Venice Biennale, Rover Thomas’ works sparked a greater appreciation of Aboriginal art, both nationally and internationally.
A desert man, the story of his life is interwoven with that of the Canning Stock Route. Thomas was born in the 1920s and raised in the Country around its middle stretches. At an early age he was picked up by a drover, Wally Dowling, and taken north to Billiluna and the Kimberley. He became a stockman himself, and eventually married and settled at Turkey Creek. There, in the 1970s, he pioneered the East Kimberley school of ochre painting on canvas.
stamped lower left with artist's monogram, dated lower right 21 Aug 79
52 x 41.5cm
Acquired directly from the artist; private collection Canada, since 1984;
Menzies, 10/08/2017, Lot No. 32;
Private collection, Sydney
In 1948, at the age of nine, Brett Whiteley was enrolled as a border at The Scots School in Bathurst. It was here that Whiteley gained a deep perception and understanding of the Australian landscape, which he conveys exquisitely in Approaching Storm. Whiteley’s lush, green rolling hills with heavy boulders and sturdy trees are so characteristic of the surrounding countryside. There is an impressive depth to the composition, from the approaching rain and clouds in the background to the valley in the middle-distance and the three-dimensional boulders at the fore. Three-dimensional effects, signature to many of Whiteley’s paintings, are evident in the thick applications of paint in the boulders. Whiteley’s picturesque, verdant valley is imbued with a deep sense of tranquility and solace that he found in his visits to the countryside of Bathurst where he often visited his sister.
Brett Whiteley’s ceramics are among his rarest and most delicately lyrical works of art. Here the artist has hand-painted and glazed upon a ceramic dish fine sprigs of blossom, possibly peach or plum. The artist’s signature indigo blue sings against the minimal ceramic background and the circular, almost calligraphic composition is beautifully resolved.
Estate of the artist, Sydney. Thence by descent.
Frannie Hopkirk, New South Wales, the artist’s sister
Private collection, Sydney, acquired from the above in 1997
Deutscher and Hackett, Australian + International Fine Art and Aboriginal Art, Sydney, 30/11/2016, Lot No. 81
Private collection, Sydney