This week, Bonhams & Goodman surpassed Albert Tucker’s sale record when it sold a monumental masterpiece Explorers (1967) by the artist for in excess of $1,000,000.

The private treaty sale was negotiated by Geoffrey Smith, Director and National Head of Art, at Bonhams & Goodman.

tucker.jpgThe painting measuring 137 x 183 cm is the largest single panel work Tucker ever produced and its iconography typical of Tucker’s interpretation of the Australian landscape.

The vendor of the Australian masterpiece is Barbara Tucker, the artist’s widow. The buyer wishes to remain anonymous, yet Bonhams & Goodman can disclose that the painting has been acquired by an Australian private collector.

Smith is widely acknowledged as a world authority on Albert Tucker and is compiling a complete catalogue of the artist’s paintings. His friendship with Mrs Tucker has strengthened throughout this process and Smith’s expertise has been critical to her entrusting the picture to him for sale.

“This sale is a most timely and deserved result for one of Australia’s most significant artists, who has dramatically shaped the way in which we perceive our urban and rural environment,” says Smith. “Compared to many of his contemporaries, Tucker produced relatively few paintings. A large percentage of these reside in public institutions, thereby limiting the opportunity to acquire his work. The purchase of Explorers (1967) represents exceptional value and it certainly has the potential to dramatically increase in value in the future”, adds Smith.

Albert Tucker belongs to the generation of Australian artists – which included Russell Drysdale and Sidney Nolan – whose images of rural and outback Australia defined for many what it was to be Australian.

“Through living so long in alien environments I have become acutely aware of what is Australian in me and just where the demarcation lines lie. And I only wish that my Australian self was better nourished – perhaps one of these days we can make an outback trip together – let’s hope so anyway.” (Albert Tucker to Sidney Nolan, Rome, August 1953.)

Many of Tucker’s works are held in public collections, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; and Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane.

Bonhams & Goodman will offer other astute collectors the opportunity to acquire works by Tucker at its forthcoming fine art sale in Melbourne on Wednesday 23 April 2008. Whilst entries are still being finalised, Smith is confident there will be several significant works by the artist available for purchase at public auction.