Last week you could have done some Christmas shopping at the Mossgreen and Sotheby’s art auctions in Sydney. You might have picked up more stocking fillers at Mossgreen rather than Sotheby’s grander offerings but there were not many bargains to be had at either sale. A star piece at Mossgreen was Jeffrey Smart’s Dividing Line, Study 1 (1977-8) which sold for $114,700; the image was used on the cover of his autobiography Not Quite Straight as well as this catalogue. Surprisingly Ugo Catani’s Collins Street, Rainy Weather (1887) sold for seven times its estimate at $155,000. A real Christmas gift was the charming miniature by Jim Thalassoudis Untitled (Landscape 1, 1994) for $992.
True to form, big guns were on offer at Sotheby’s starting with Herbert Badham’s delightful Botanical Gardens, Sydney (1936) which one hoped would go to an institution for $170,800. Great to see William Dobell back in the big money with his famous Storm Approaching, Wangi (1948) going for $408,700. A lovely Arthur Streeton, And the Sunlight Clasps the Earth (1895), from a very private collection in Melbourne more than doubled its lower estimate to $689,500. An attractive late Margaret Olley still life brought $73,200. But the painting that would need a very grand Christmas stocking, the catalogue cover image, Charles Blackman’s The Game of Chess (1956) fetched a record-breaking $1,799,500. Great works attracting big money.
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