Menzies Art Brands

Head of Art’s Choice


During the auction viewing I meet many people and get asked: What is your favourite thing in the show? The answer depends how much you will give me to spend. I like a bargain and there is no doubt the Inge King bronze (Lot 4) would look great on my terrace. The King is the bargain of the sale. I have always been a big fan of  Perceval’s late 1950s works. The Williamstown paintings of that period are amongst the best paintings done in a great era: when Blackman and Boyd were also at their peak. Bend in the Creek (Lot 48) is a minor work but it speaks to me and is also good value. I think of it as a Fairweather. I like Boyd’s Billabong (Lot 29) for the same reason. Nolan’s Miner (Lot 120), at the back of the sale, painted when the artist was showing at Marlborough Galleries in London reminds me of Francis Bacon, who also showed there. This painting has attracted some derisive comments, but I like its intensity and the link to Bacon works for me. It’s nicely illustrated in the main reference book on the artist too.

The sale contains a sprinkling of contemporary paintings and objects. The Susan Norrie (Lot 103) is a remarkable painting that lingers in the mind and would look great on my sitting room wall. My collection has room for colonial and early art. The delightful Henry Burn (Lot 110) needs to be displayed in the darkest room in the house, maybe the hall.

Best (money-is-no-object) painting in the show? Blackman’s Two Figures (Lot 46). We have become accustomed to saying that the Schoolgirls and the Alice paintings are Blackman’s most important work, but I have no doubt that the paintings from about 1959-1961 are his best work and this one is a beauty.

Art is subjective so finding a handful of items from the 124 on offer is about right. For some reason this sale has more than a handful, so if the budget is not bust by any of the above and room can be found for a second item, I would take one of the classic late Japanese woodblock prints by Torii Kotondo. Any of them would do, but my favourite is Lot 91.

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