Hollington Fine Art
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US$55,000 for a whale's tooth!

Hollington Fine Art successfully located the right auction room in the US - literally worth half of that figure here in Australia - so it pays to research and locate from our database and experience the best options for selling any object.

Dealing with the paper-work and customs was a lengthy convoluted task, given that it from a whale, albeit 19th Century. What made this tooth so very interesting was the early form of the US flag (12 stars) and the sheer quality of the polychromed carving. These scrimshaws were carved by whalers and sailors, and among the earliest form of American folk art and are highly sought-after by an elite US group.

"This is a very good price. You have been a very professional," said the owner whose ancestors were buccaneers in the Caribbean. By coincidence, we have been asked to sell a second pair of scrimshaw, depicting a pirate's galleon under attack, from a British Man O'War circa 1820.

Albert Tucker - Faun and Parrots
Oil on paper, 1968 signed lower left
Estimate AU$20,000 - 25,000
To be sold in May at Lawson Menzies Fine Art Sale

This Albert Tucker forms part of an estate which Hollington Fine Art has been asked to sell. There are very distinctive markets for certain artists, that's why placement and marketing for them will vary giving a different result: this is the key to the prices we have been able to achieve for artists inrecent years through attention to the detail of selling. What is initially important is getting price line right so as to draw bidders in, and then through the use of various data bases to get the paintings into the buyer arena with time to spare.

Tucker is part of an exulted group of Australian artists; although he is not to everybody's taste as his work does deal with darkness of the times in which he was alive, a commentary on war with an angry twist including a mood of brutality, interwoven with Jungian themes. These paintings are strong and at the same time entirely comprehensive to generations who lived through this period. Tucker recorded Hiroshima shortly after the bomb, and if anything was going to effect his work, well let's say - that would be an understatement.

The painting dates from the 60's, his free wheeling bush period with those distinctive parrots which shoot through his paintings with a very particular trademark of zest and vigour - perhaps replacing the earlier anger, and not without humour, albeit slightly dark.

Chinese Jade Mystery Object Turns Up in Manly



Known as a Ruyi, this Jade sceptre has languished in Manly house since 1950s. Today values of Chinese art and antiques have soared and the sceptre could be worth over $100,000. It is set to be sold at auction in London where one made over $2 million recently.

These sceptres were symbols held by Emperors and other dignitaries, often given to diplomats as form of insignia appropriate to their post. Their origins are lost in prehistory but relate to Buddhist monks and perhaps to practices that have been lost. In more recent history, these Ruyi are symbolic of power, and carved with emblems like peaches and bats for good luck and good fortune.

This particular one was given to the present owner's father as retirement gift by his staff in Singapore. It dates from the early 19th Century and is not only of exceptional quality, but its fine celadon colour, which all important to collectors who are flocking to London, New York and Hong Kong to buy back their heritage, objects of power are high on their list of preferences.

I hadn't seen one for years, so I was surprised when one turned up in my home town. The owner who wishes to remain anonymous kept it on his desk, but now is pleased to know that it is returning to China.

Estimated value: AU$62,000 - AU$93,000

Summer Burn Off by Tim Storrier

Oil on canvas, signed and dated lower right '94
122x243cm - valued at $250,000 for insurance

Sometimes, a work of art jumps out at you and stops you in your tracks. In this case, this is clearly one of Tim Storrier's best, the artist at his peak. What was so striking was the location on the 33rd floor in an open plan office reception looking across Sydney Harbour in the visitors seating area.

The natural light on the painting and the huge expanse of Sydney Harbour contrasted with a kind of brilliance with the fire and sky or air element - bringing all the elements together in a vibrant juxtaposition.

Storrier is an enigmatic artist but this theme of his of the desert, the fire and sky are in some way an expression of the raw primordial and yet ravishing desert interior. This painting incongruously placed within a huge man made monolith adds a shock to senses aspect which always causes a re-action in the visitors.

Valuing art is an art form in itself, artists have good and bad periods in their life, when they seem to be on fire (excuse the pun) and periods when they are not on top of their game, or perhaps have gone too long with one theme. Many artists' works are over valued because of their names, and the assumption that if it's by them, it must be good. In the case of Storrier in this painting, he has reached his apogee and you can see it in an instant, the confidence of astering the subject, the boldness and balance the vibrancy of the dancing flames against the stillness and emptiness of the landscape, the destruction versus the beauty of the flames, the artist's practice versus the spontaneity of nature.

Storrier's symbolic choice of fire alludes to the natural and vital process of decay and renewal that occurs in bushfires that ravage Australia's environs. Fire also holds survival, sacrificial and mythical connections.

Kings Road Chelsea by Janet Cumbrae-Stewart

Evocative to my generation, Kings Road Chelsea was the heart of 'Swinging' London in the sixties, but prior to that, it was the heart of the Bohemian art world from the late 19th Century where the heavy handed mores of the Victorian and Edwardians were put to one side through the medium of the arts.

The Impressionistic pastel on paper will be offered at Davidson's auction house in Annandale in June. The painting which shows the view from a window (probably her studio) in the Kings Road Chelsea, is dated 1923. It has turned up in an estate in Frenchs Forest, Sydney.

This is a departure from the porcelaineous nude women and girls that Janet Cumbrae-Stewart painted in the early part of the 20th Century in and around Melbourne, her home, with great skill and a detached lesbian voyeurism, appropriate, perhaps, to the times.

This impressionistic nature make me think of Degas and his brilliant contexts - if only Janet had expanded her horizons - there is a serious talent here. And it's frustrating because she limited herself to the static figure with occasional hints through paintings such as the Chelsea view that she could have taken her art much further. That's not to decry her gorgeously textured studies of women and girls one of which made $60,000 at auction recently, certainly she deserves recognition as a great exponent of the nude form.

Roland Wakelin Found in Dee Why


A collection of eight unknown major art works by the renowned modernist Roland Wakelin, regarded as the founder of Australian contemporary art, discovered in a private home in Dee Why, were sold at auction in Sydney in April.

We were able to guide and support the sale of the paintings as well as negotiating commission rates resulting in a successful sale, achieving over $50,000. It is interesting to note that specific artists achieve different prices at different auction houses, and that commission rates vary considerably - beware the hidden costs!

Roland Wakelin, who is represented in many major art galleries around Australia, is sought after by collectors. He was born in 1887 and died in 1971, and lived in Dee Why during the 1920s.

Like "colourist" Roy de Maistre, Wakelin was a modernist, particularly in his use of colour and harmony, with clear influence from Cezanne and the other major impressionists.

Using classical subject matter - landscape, cityscape or still life - he applied high keyed colours for a gentle, soft-focus, dream-like modernist effect. Wakelin's work was the subject of a major retrospective at the Art Gallery of NSW in 1967.

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Adrianus Eversen

1818 - 1892
Dutch Winter Street Scenes
(possibly Amersfoot)

A pair, oil on panel, signed lower left, and lower right. Each 42.5x34.5cm

Adrianus Everson often painted imaginary views with the intention of evoking an atmosphere rather than representing accuracy. He worked in Amsterdam and studied under Cornelius de Kruyf, and then under Cornelius Springer. He spent most of his life in Amsterdam, where he exhibited regularly. His work is represented in several museums.

The two paintings realised the total of AU$124,000 after being consigned to Christies in Amsterdam.

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