The Sydney Morning Herald touts the return of a A$1m estimate to the Australian art market as a Brett Whiteley painting is auctioned at Menzies:
Whiteley’s 1988 painting The Sunrise, Japanese: Good Morning! attracted about 130 people to its first Sydney viewing this week. It will be auctioned next Wednesday. Menzies Art Brands’ chief executive, Litsa Veldekis, said confidence had picked up and to have even secured a million-dollar-plus painting for sale ”says something”. The hammer-price estimate of $1.1 million to $1.4 million was conservative, she said, adding: ”I think we’ve got our numbers bang on for this one.”
The presence of the Whiteley in a year when quality offerings have been rare is being seen as another sign that the art market is returning to life after months in the doldrums. About three weeks ago, the Whiteley painting Justine (Bondi), a portrait of Wendy Whiteley, sold at auction for $960,000, this year’s highest price for an artwork.
The appearance of a seven-figure painting is another sign of a larger thaw in the Australian art market:
The long-time dealer Denis Savill, of Savill Galleries, said few quality artworks had been available this year due to owners’ reluctance to sell in difficult economic times, and it was ”very, very hard to get fresh stock at the minute – and that’s for every dealer and for every gallery”. However, he had recently seen signs of confidence returning. There had been an improvement in the past three or four weeks – ”it’s quite noticeable”. Valuable paintings were trickling back into the auction market, he said. ”There’s no doubt there’s more joy. There’s a little more courage.”
The Sunrise, Japanese is part of a group of paintings being sold by the millionaire Tasmanian mathematician and art collector David Walsh. It last fetched $764,500 (including buyer’s premium) in September 2004.
Market Shakes of Art Attack to Feel Like a Million (Sydney Morning Herald)