Australia’s The Age examines Austcorp’s corporate art collection that will be featured in next week’s Sotheby’s sale. Valued at A$800k to A$1m, the collection of 99 works was assembled for CEO Trevor Chappell. (Why the company was acquiring this art rather than Chappell himself is not explained.) The Age makes much of the Australian markets need for works to sell but the danger lurks in the fact that many of the artists in the collection have not previously reached the auction market:
Accountants may well describe the collection as a ”non-productive asset”, but it was curated with passion. When New York-born art consultant Barbara Flynn began assembling the collection for Austcorp in 2003, she was buying for keeps. ”I try to choose works so that people will never want to let them go. This was never the intention,” said Ms Flynn, who ran galleries in New York in the 1980s and ’90s, and worked for the high-profile Gagosian Gallery before moving to Australia in 1998.
Mr Chappell, she said, was an ”optimal client”. ”He has a great eye and knows quality, but he also has a great spirit in the sense of being adventurous and also generous. The collection made a point of helping young artists and giving them confidence and money to make new works.” […] The Austcorp collection – which features such names as Patricia Piccinini, Tracey Moffatt, Lisa Roet, Ah Xian, Destiny Deacon, Adam Cullen, Callum Morton and Michael Parekowhai – is a rare boon. Many of the artists have never been auctioned before by Sotheby’s, if at all.