IN MEMORIAM RODNEY MENZIES (1945-2022)
Menzies Art Brands are saddened to report the passing of Chairman and Owner, Rodney Menzies, who passed away peacefully on 25 April after a long illness. Rod created a formidable legacy and many cherished memories, as represented in this portrait by Garry Shead, painted in 2018.
Menzies Art Brands is Australia’s premier fine art auction house, conducting specialist auctions of Important Australian & International Art three to four times annually in Sydney and Melbourne. In April 2018, the company celebrated its twentieth year of operation, initially as Deutscher~Menzies and later as Menzies Art Brands. Since the company’s inception in 1998, Menzies has secured a strong reputation for the breadth and quality of our auction catalogues and a commitment to delivering exceptional service to our clients.
On 26 November 2020, Menzies made Australian art market history with the sale of Henri’s Armchair 1974-75 by Brett Whiteley for $6.136 million (including buyer’s premium) – the highest price ever paid for an Australian painting at auction. Menzies now accounts for the four highest prices achieved for works of art at auction in Australia. The result also confirms Menzies’ leadership of the market for Brett Whiteley, having secured seven of the artist’s ten highest auction results.
Menzies has sold 65 works with individual prices over $1 million, including Sidney Nolan’s First-Class Marksman 1946 for $5.4 million, the second-highest price ever achieved at auction in Australia. Menzies also holds the record for the third and fourth highest prices at auction in Australia with Brett Whiteley’s My Armchair 1976 ($3.93 million in 2013) and The Olgas for Ernest Giles 1985 ($3.48 million in 2007). At Menzies’ 20th Anniversary Sale in April 2018, Menzies achieved an auction record for Jeffrey Smart, with the sale of The Observer II 1983-84 for $2 million against a pre-sale estimate of $800,000 to $1 million. More recently, in our June 2019 sale, Menzies more than doubled the previous auction record for Howard Arkley, selling Deluxe Setting 1992 for $1.5 million.
Menzies also enjoys an unparalleled reputation within Australia for the sale of museum-quality works by prominent nineteenth-and twentieth-century international artists. In August 2017, Menzies achieved an international auction record for British painter Cedric Morris, with the sale of July Flowers and Wood Warblers 1929 for $282,273, over 30 times its pre-sale low estimate. The painting had been out of the public eye for the best part of a century before being inherited by its previous owner. Menzies has also realised impressive results in the realm of international contemporary art. In November 2018, Menzies sold a complete set of Andy Warhol’s 1978 screenprints of Muhammad Ali for $294,545, against an estimate of $150,000 – 200,000. In November 2017, Menzies sold Keith Haring’s ink drawing Untitled 1984 for $147,273 against an estimate of $30,000 – 50,000, achieving a new auction record for the artist in Australia.
Having been in the art auction business for over two decades, Menzies has built an extensive database of Australian and international clients. Our diverse clientele includes private collectors, art market professionals and representatives of major state and regional galleries. This affords Menzies’ vendors the opportunity to engage with discerning buyers who wish to acquire the very best of Australian and international art.