Australia Broadcasting files this report from the Sydney auctions:
Hundreds turned out to the offices of Menzies Art Brands in Sydney last night, and as case upon case of free fine wine was served, it was clear that restraint was not the order of the day. The auction was the first major test of the Australian art market this year, and more than 80 per cent of the 250 lots were cleared. The highest sale was $440,000 for a painting by Rover Thomas, Bungullgi. Several other items sold for more than $400,000. Many in the audience said they were surprised at the enthusiasm among buyers.
Menzies Art Brands National Art Director, Tim Abdallah, isn’t going to pretend that we’re back in the heady days of 2007 again:
Mr Abdallah acknowledges that the market has shrunk overall. “We’re certainly missing out on the very high value items,” he said. “In a sale of this type two years ago, we would have had a couple of pictures worth maybe $1 million in the sale. It’s testimony to the state of things at the moment that people who are sitting on pictures worth $1 million are waiting for them to be back to $1 million again. They might not get that in this market.”