Aboriginal Art in the Art Market

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The market for Aboriginal art has grown steadily in recent years. Now this is an incredibly tempting investment for any well-informed collector. Learn more about this fascinating genre and its place in the world art market.

Since the 1990s, there has been an increased interest in Aboriginal art in the art market. Since then, revenues from public sales of Aboriginal art have skyrocketed. For example, in June 1997, Johnny Warangkul Tjupurrula’s Water Dreams in Kalipinip was sold at Sotheby’s in Australia for 125,000 euros. Three years later, in 2000, its value at the same auction house soared to 270,000 euros.

The auction houses seem to be ignoring the very modern aspect of Aboriginal art. Instead, they include Aboriginal art in the category: “ancient and ethnographic art”. Meanwhile, contemporary Australian artists are featured in the Paintings, Drawings and Sculptures category.

Galleries specializing in indigenous art , such as Arts d’Australie – Stéphane Jacob, work directly with art centers that promote Aboriginal art and ensure the safety of artists. Unlike auction houses, which almost exclusively focus on the historical aspects of a work, galleries single out the artist who created it.

Because of this, the Aboriginal art market has raised many questions about the artist’s rights by Western standards. This is due to the fact that many works were conditional, often collectively, but one artist claimed the work. The same problem must have arisen for a number of Western artists. Just look at Rodin, who worked with a caster to cast his bronze and then let one of the sculptors finish the parts for him.

Artwork produced by politically and economically isolated traditional societies is referred to as Aboriginal art. The motifs found on real works are similar to those found on stones, bark, or even on the bodies of aborigines.

The works of indigenous art symbolize the connection between the natives and the spirit world, or tell about the travels and teachings of their ancestors. First created over 50,000 years ago, it is the oldest living art form. These works, often carried out on a small scale, play an important role in the daily life of these societies and the important part of cultural heritage.

Since their introduction to the art market, many artists have managed to make their mark, such as Rover Thomas or Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri. The first Aboriginal artist to achieve global recognition was Brett Whiteley, who established himself as the most respected Australian artist of the decade.

The success of these artists is often dazzling. This is due to the fact that there are few artists in this category on the art market, and therefore the number of works is limited. The artist’s personal history is particularly linked to his success with collectors.

Aboriginal paintings, or the art of “dreamers” from the Australian bush and desert, fascinate viewers and occupy an important place in the global art market.



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