Australia’s Aboroginal Art Sales Stall: 47% sell-through and A$3.6 (US$2.8) million total
The Australian gives an cultural spin to the slowdown in Aboroginal art:
“during last year’s art boom, auctions sank into “that alpha male financial mindset, which is all about being a winner, the last man standing”. “That’s now changing — those days are over,” he said.
Sotheby’s had predicted a result of between $7.5million and $10million of art sales. Although there was strong interest in the historical artefacts — including a record $84,000 paid for a northeast Queensland rainforest shield — the night’s total reached just under $4million, with a clearance rate of about 47 per cent.
In response to the international financial meltdown, Sotheby’s Australia decided to hold one indigenous art auction this year instead of its usual two. There were some big names among the 324 lots, including Thomas, Kngwarreye, Paddy Bedford, Ginger Riley, Eubena Nampitjin, John Mawurndjul and Kitty Kantilla. But not all vendors were successful, and there were no $1million-plus sales as seen in previous years.
Bloomberg finds some bright spots:
A rainforest shield from the northeast of Queensland state fetched A$84,000, a record for an Aboriginal artifact at auction. “Artifacts are finite, we’re never going to have those times again,” said Anne Wall, a Sydney-based spokeswoman for Sotheby’s.[ . . . ]
Other highlights of the sale included 11 untitled Pintupi drawings and watercolors that sold for A$300,000, meeting the top end of Sotheby’s pre-sale estimate. The works are from a tribal group that was among the last Australian aborigines to be relocated from traditional lands.
Alpha males abandon art sales (The Australian)