Bonhams & Goodman Sets Auction Record

. May 7, 2009

At the Prahran salerooms several hundred people watched Bonhams & Goodman sell over $2.88million of Australian and International Art with record results. This is the first time Bonhams & Goodman has achieved this level of sales by value at an art auction and a surprising result in the current economic climate.

Despite the last minute withdrawal of 22 pictures as a result of an order from the Family Court of Australia in Sydney, the sale was a huge success with 42 lots selling out of the 54 lots. This represents a sell rate of 78% by volume. These statistics are the highest selling statistics achieved in the recent round of art auctions conducted in Melbourne.

russell-drysdale.jpgThe Estate of the Late Margaret Louise Jarrett was one of the highlights of the evening with the entire collection of 17 works all finding a new home. The cover picture, Russell Drysdale’s The Drover’s Wife (1945) sold for $612,000 including Buyer’s Premium, well above the estimate of $300,000 – 400,000. The Drover’s Wife is a companion picture to a similar painting of the same date in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.

Two new world auction records were established including the famous portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, painted by Sir William Dargie in 1954. This was one of the two original versions, one of which was reproduced as a print hanging in state schools and other institutions for decades. The other version hangs in Parliament House, Canberra. The portrait sold to the National Museum of Australia for $144,000 including Buyer’s Premium, more than four times the previous record for the artist.

More than 200 art enthusiasts, dealers and institutional agents crowded the Prahran salerooms. Eight staff manned the telephone bidding tables conducting bids on behalf of many clients unable to attend the auction.

The sale achieved a gross hammer result of $2.4 million or $2.88 million including Buyer’s Premium

“We were greatly encouraged by the enthusiasm demonstrated by private, corporate and institutional collectors, who all competed to secure rare and iconic works, which in many cases had never previously been offered at auction” remarked Geoffrey Smith, Director and National Head of Art, Bonhams & Goodman.

Geoffrey Smith departs for Europe on Friday to inspect major works for the forthcoming Bonhams & Goodman Fine Art Auction to be held in Sydney in August 2009.

Category: Auction News

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