Australia’s early Spring auctions featured a number of rare works by Australian-born Jeffrey Smart whose works don’t often come to market but seemed to be everywhere this season. Both Sotheby’s Australia and Deutscher Hackett had significant examples:
As it turned out, Deutscher and Hackett won this battle with a stunning result of $1.26 million IBP for the self-portrait, a new record for a Smart at auction. It was bought by Bernard Shafer on behalf of an anonymous private collector from Melbourne.
At Sotheby’s the night before, Radial Road was eclipsed by another Jeffrey Smart work, The Red Warehouse, 2003, which achieved the highest result of the night with $878,400 IBP, more than double the lower estimate of $400,000.
Radial Road sold for $610,000 IBP.
Both paintings beat the more established work of blue-chip artists such as Fred Williams, Russell Drysdale and Brett Whiteley.
The two headline Smart paintings from both auction houses were unique in that they hadn’t appeared at auction before. Radial Road hadn’t been seen in public since it was bought new for about $2750 in 1972. The self-portrait has also had one owner since it was purchased in 1986 in Melbourne.
Blue chips post records (Sydney Morning Herald)