At our private exhibition in New York earlier this year one of the art world’s most influential people stood spellbound in front of this incredible painting by Bill Whiskey and described it as “powerful and majestic…”. Their reaction to Bill Whiskey’s work made clear to me why his pictures are so highly sought-after (and in my view under-valued) in the marketplace today…Read More
Art market trends, insights and tips on buying, selling & collecting art...
When you get your own solo show at New York’s chic downtown gallery, Salon 94 Bowery, you know you’ve reached a new level of acclaim. And when your work is collected by some of the biggest music and movie stars on the planet - the world will know it too.
The artist is Yukultji Napangati and her exhibition – which will run until March – is stunning New York collectors who have never seen anything like it before…Read More
A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from the Department of Communications and the Arts announcing an important change in legislation that will be an absolute game-changer for the Australian Indigenous art industry.
The highly contentious Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986 – which for many years restricted exports and thwarted the international trade for Indigenous art - was finally amended to more adequately reflect the current times…Read More
When news broke at Sydney Contemporary that Bill Nuttall at Niagara Galleries had just sold Rover Thomas’ Kukatja, Wangkatjanka/ Woolanguwa, reputedly for $300,000, there was a collective industry cheer. Not only is the stalwart dealer highly regarded and well-liked, but the important work was crisp, rewarding and thoroughly deserving of the result.
It also perfectly sums up the mood of the market over the last 6 months…Read More
With only 2 weeks till the Sydney Contemporary art fair, we're getting very excited about the incredible collection we're offering and the people we'll meet.
The collection, Reverence: Sydney Contemporary 2018, has just launched online and includes artworks by several leading Australian artists - all wrapped and ready to transport north. We can’t wait.
In the meantime I’m using this month’s blog to share 5 masterworks that we’ll be exhibiting at the fair...
In the 35th year of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards it is clear to me, and many others besides, that the level of quality overall had taken a serious step up compared with previous years.
Not to take anything away from the excellent group of previous finalists and winners, it’s just that there appears to be a much stronger confidence and connection to self shone through for me, evident by all of the finalist artists this year.
In this post I will walk you through my highlights, starting with one of the absolute stand outs – Pepai Carroll.
I understand that the art market can be a difficult place to navigate.
The Australian Indigenous art market is no exception and that’s why I publish a new installment of the Art Market Insider Guide twice each year – to distill the results and key market activity into a concise report that will keep you informed.
There’s been quite a bit of action in the last 6 months so let’s get into it…
With my annual exhibition now underway, it's time to reflect - as I do each June - on which artists to look out for in the current market setting.
These are the practitioners who transcend the trends and stand the test of time. They are the masters whose works define a movement, setting a benchmark for all those that come after them.
In updating my previous 'Top 10' I looked at market activity and all major exhibitions held over the past 2 years. The result has lead to some interesting movement and perhaps a number of surprises...
With my third major exhibition of Important Australian Indigenous Art due to open at the end of the month, and my team putting the finishing touches on what’s shaping up to be a very exciting catalogue, I wanted to share a few of the highlights with you.
Now titled Significant, my annual catalogue is a selection of the most exceptional works of art available on the market, exhibited in June each year at William Mora Galleries.
Over the last 12 months I’ve seen a clear curatorial push at several of our major institutions and museums to avoid exhibiting early artefacts and historical objects, with a stronger focus on contemporary works.
While this exposure is great for contemporary artists and their respective communities, I fear it misses the bigger picture. Let me explain.
Continuing with my popular ‘Top 10’ series, I’m going to review a segment of artists that aren’t all yet prominent on the secondary market but who are making huge waves on the primary market and should be watched closely in the future.
Urban Indigenous artists can be loosely defined as those based in the urban centres, descended from communities who bore the brunt of colonisation and dislocation, generally featuring less traditional mediums and styles and more political overtones.
The best works of these artists are always challenging and with a strong narrative, but often not easily accessible on the secondary market – taking the form of installation or site specific pieces. Those that do make it into private collections are, to date, tightly held.
With so many important urban Indigenous artists currently producing this was a really hard list to define – but from the collectors that I deal with, these are the names that are making the most waves in the market at present.
When the demand for great works outstrips supply, you know you’re in a strong position. And with such a strong surge in the Australian Indigenous art market, particularly in the latter half of 2017, I’ve been encouraged to make some bold steps in 2018 and beyond.
Here is my outlook and some inside scoops for the year ahead...
If you caught my recent instalment of the Art Market Insider Guide you’ll know my sentiment on the current state of the Australian Indigenous art market: it’s been a strong year.
And the momentum is building - particularly in the Contemporary sphere.
But as most of the action has been happening behind the scenes, I want to share with you some of my best results for the year.
And so here are TEN OF MY TOP SALES FOR 2017 - there may be a few surprises…
The Art Market Insider Guide is where I look at recent market activity and provide analysis so that collectors like yourself have an informed gauge on the Australian Indigenous Art sector.
As predicted, this has been a very strong year.
Until very recently however, the year has been without the headlines and the fanfare that goes along with a major annual stand-alone Indigenous auction.
That’s because, with the exception of the Laverty auction at Deutscher and Hackett in May (and even that included both Indigenous and non-Indigenous works), there have been none.
Over the past 6 months I have noticed an uplift in international interest for the top-end segment of Australian Indigenous art. Serious collectors are once again taking notice.
As this international interest slowly starts to gather more and more momentum, it is important to realise that Australian buyers have significant opportunity now – after all, we have the home-ground advantage.
I’ve harped on this before but it remains true that the best examples of Australian Indigenous art hold their own against the best of any other art form or movement in the world.
With such easy access to a great healthcare system in Australia’s big cities, it’s easy to be unaware of the very real problems faced by the Indigenous people living in remote communities.
Chronic kidney disease is a particular concern. Rates of end-stage kidney disease in Indigenous people from remote and very remote communities are up to 20 times higher than comparable non-indigenous peoples.
Treatment required is expensive, ongoing and can often mean people have to move far away from their remote communities in order to access it.
The resulting dislocation and loss of cultural engagement and connection to family and country is an incalculable loss for these individuals and their communities.
If you’ve been in Sydney recently you can't have missed Badu Gili (Water Light) - the magnificent art projections on the sails of the Sydney Opera House running since June.
Living in Melbourne, I was aware this was happening but hadn't really taken the time to check it out sooner. I wish I had.
Not only is the 7 minute display absolutely beautiful, mesmerising and moving, but it begins with artworks by one of my favourite Indigenous artists - Lin Onus.
Around this time last year I wrote a post about the increasing popularity of Private Sales in the Australian Indigenous art market. (If you missed it you can catch up here in The Fastest Growing Market Sector Nobody Talks About.)
As Private Treaty sales of artworks continue to grow exponentially and are fast becoming the leading method of sale of Indigenous art in Australia (if not already), now seems as good a time as any to examine why this is happening and how you can make the most of the trend.
The Australian art market has nowhere near the depth and breadth that can be seen overseas. In my opinion this is the fundamental reason that Private Sale – where prices are fixed and it’s up to the agent to find the right buyer – has become the most effective means to sell significant Australian Indigenous Art (and the majority of Australian Contemporary Art for that matter) within Australia.
How does the secondary market really benefit artists and what more can be done?
Confidence is the main driving force in any market.
When a masterful and large scale work by Warlimpirrnga sold at Sotheby’s in London last year for 167,000 GBP (more than doubling its lower estimate) it made international headlines. It was thrilling to see an artist, still living and working in Kiwirrkura, achieve such an incredible price for his work at auction - and in front of an international audience no less. It demonstrated a renewed level of confidence in the Australian Indigenous art market.
But there was also an immediate and short-sighted backlash following the sale, arguing that the artist and his family saw no direct benefit from this international result.