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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Estate of the Late James Gleeson AO Sells to Packed Auction Room

Art collectors, dealers and institutions alike had the opportunity to acquire a work of art by one of Australia’s most revered practitioners straight from the artist’s wall when 106 lots of paintings and sculpture from the Estate of the Late James Gleeson AO were dispersed to the packed auction room.

James GleesonFormed by James Gleeson and his partner Frank O’Keefe over many decades, the collection included a comprehensive representation from Gleeson’s long and distinguished career, as well as a selection of paintings, scultpures, drawings and prints, by friends and contemporaries such as William Dobell and Robert Klippel.

Getting off to a great start, it seemed that size didn’t matter when lot 3, Gondolier with Siren 1951, a beautifully intricate work measuring 17 x 16cm, sold for $36,000 IBP. Shortly following and only slightly larger was Figures in a Psychoscape (1975) which sold for $28,800, more than 6 times its estimate.

One of the most sought after pieces of the Estate, The Artist Descending 1998, was the biggest seller of the night reaching $86,400 against it’s pre-sale estimate of $80,000 – 100,000.

Robert Klippel’s sculptures and works on paper were also hotly contested on the phones and in the saleroom. All sold extremely well but the highlight was certainly No.237 1967 – a sculpture made of plastic toy kits which sold for $49,200 IBP, more than tripling its lower estimate.

Executor of the Estate and Trustee of the Gleeson O’Keefe Foundation, Ray Wilson said ‘On behalf of the Gleeson O’Keefe Foundation we are thrilled with the result. It was the express wishes of James Gleeson and Frank O’Keefe that their personal collection be widely dispersed to collectors to enjoy, as they had for many decades. The fantastic result is a testament to Gleeson’s talent as an artist and as a collector. The proceeds of this evening’s auction will form a significant component of The Gleeson O’Keefe Foundation, the income being for the benefit of the Art Gallery of NSW to assist their acquiring major works by Australian artists.’

The auction made a total of $1,114,740 including Buyer’s Premium, selling 127% by value and 98% by volume.

James Gleeson (1915-2008)
The Artist Descending 1998
oil on canvas
133 x 178cm
Sold for $86,400(IBP)