Sotheby’s demonstrated continued recovery in the Aboriginal art market with its recent move of Aboriginal sales to London. Today’s auction achieved £1.6m (AU$2.8m), representing a 55% increase from last year’s sale.
an artist record was established for Michael Nelson Jagamara’s Five Stories, 1984,which sold for £401,000 (AU$ 687,877), more than doubling the pre-sale high estimate of £150,000-200,000. Offered from the Gabrielle Pizzi Collection, Five Stories is considered the most iconic work of modern aboriginal art, and is possibly the most published and exhibited work by any indigenous Australian artist. A new record was also set for a work by any living aboriginal artist when Warlimpirringa Tjapaltjarri’s untitled painting from 2007 more than doubled pre-sale expectations to sell for £167,000 (AU$286,473) (estimate: £50,000-80,000).
Following a prolonged bidding battle, Benedict Palmeiua Munkara’s Male And Female Figures of Purukapali and Bim, executed on Bathurst Island in the 1960s, soared to £251,000 (AU$430,566), far in excess of the £30,000-50,000 estimate and setting a record for an aboriginal sculpture at auction.