Indigenous art sale a litmus test of the bigger picture

Aboriginal Art Directory | 19.07.09

It is sometimes said that when the Australian art market catches a cold, the indigenous art sector ends up with pneumonia.

This fragility is why so many collectors, dealers, gallery owners and artists will be closely watching Sotheby's Aboriginal art sale on July 20.

The secondary market has taken a pounding in recent months and experts are nervous that indigenous art -- with its influential international collectors and its unique model of community art centres -- could be hit hard if the sale is not a success.

Sotheby's head of Aboriginal art, Tim Klingender, is confident the auction of 153 works will reach its estimate of $2.5million to $3.5m. Last year's Aboriginal art sale recorded $3.7m.

But, like many arts specialists, Mr Klingender has had to convince his vendors to lower their expectations and agree to "very conservative estimates".

"It will give some indication of the health of the market and I hope it does do well," he said yesterday.

"If it doesn't do well, it means people will have to lower their expectations even further on the value of things."


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Gallery: Sotheby's Australia
Telephone: +61 (0)2 9302 2402
Address: 30 Queen Street Woollahra Sydney 2025 NSW



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