It's hammer time for Sotheby's

Aboriginal Art Directory | 20.11.09

Author: Gabriella Coslovich
News source: Sydney Morning Herald

It IS the end of an era for Sotheby's art auction house as it heads into its final sales for the year - a tough year marked by falling profits, the global financial crisis, and an audacious takeover by an unlikely player.

On Monday and Tuesday, Sotheby's will put more than $7 million worth of Australian art under the hammer in Melbourne. It will be the company's final sale with its current team of specialists, some of whom are leaving following the takeover by auctioneer Tim Goodman, of rival firm Bonhams & Goodman.

Mr Goodman stunned the auction world when he and his business partners bought the Australian licence for the Sotheby's brand name. If it were not for Mr Goodman, next year's art auction landscape might have looked somewhat eroded - Sotheby's Holdings, whose international share prices and profits have plummeted, were considering leaving Australia entirely, as Christie's did in 2006.


On Tuesday, Sotheby's will conduct its final indigenous art sale for the year, featuring 23 works from the cash-strapped property developer Austcorp.

Of great interest is a large collection of early indigenous bark paintings bought by the American aeronautical inventor William McE. Miller. Among the most compelling works is a 17-piece narrative about death by Thomas Nanjiwarra Amagula.

The sales will be the last for Sotheby's chairman Justin Miller and head of Australian paintings, Georgina Pemberton. It may also be the last for the Aboriginal art specialist Tim Klingender - he is considering his options.


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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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