“So the final exit exhibit is really a glimpse into his career, not just leftovers,” says Mora. “That’s why I really wanted to have it in a gallery rather than for sale at an auction house.”
Although Bedford had painted for a ceremony his entire life, he was 76 when William Mora Galleries presented his first solo exhibition in 1998. By the time of his death in 2007, Bedford had established himself as a leading premier artist Nations – with a penchant for well-cut Italian costumes.
“He was happy that his paintings made people happy and endowed him with considerable wealth,” Mora said.
In 2006, the Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art presented a retrospective of Bedford’s work, with curators completing a catalog raisonné, the first to be produced for an Indigenous Australian artist.
“It’s been a wonderful resource and people love to have their paintings in a book and have them verified,” Mora says. “This gives great confidence to collectors. “
In 2006, Bedford was also one of eight First Nations artists commissioned to paint a permanent installation on the ground floor of the Musée du quai Branly in Paris.
Naturally, there is a sadness for Mora with this final version of Bedford’s works.
“I’m thrilled with the show’s success, but at the same time it’s a complete shutdown,” Mora says. “It has been an incredible journey for us. I remember Paddy very well. He was a very special man who ultimately adored the act of painting and was true to Native law. “
This complete stop came sooner than Mora had expected. When Mora was appointed to manage the Bedford estate, his friend Peter Seidel of law firm Arnold Bloch Leibler, who is the estate’s co-executor, drafted the contract. Mora signed without reading the fine print. A few months ago, Seidel reminded Mora that the Bedford estate was due to be liquidated by July 2022.
“The next time I sign a deal, I’ll read it,” Mora laughs.
About 60 percent of the net proceeds from the sale to the estate will be invested in Gija’s art, culture and education programs and initiatives.
Forty percent of Bedford’s works were sold to international buyers, the rest to Australians, a turnaround for Davidson, whose trade in 2019 went entirely to overseas buyers.
“We knew the local market was getting stronger and it’s now proven,” Davidson said. International collectors remain as excited as ever, with Davidson planning two overseas exhibitions next year, one in Europe and the other in the United States.
Market strength was again demonstrated last week with the last Menzies auction of the year surpassing its low estimate of $ 3.12 million to $ 3.7 million, or 4.6 million. dollars after buyer costs added.
“A solid company, we would call it,” said Brett Ballard, head of art at Menzies, very happily.
The best lot of the auction, that of Arthur Streeton Pale blue and gold, 1933, sold for $ 20,000 above its high estimate, for a hammer price of $ 270,000.
Margaret olley Patricia with fruits and flowers, 1965, more than doubled its low estimate to sell for $ 130,000 (hammer). Menzies charges a 25 percent purchase premium including GST in addition to the hammer price.
The work is one of a series of portraits painted by Olley of native Australian women, many of whom resided in an inn not far from the family home in Brisbane. While Olley’s portrayal of these women was well intentioned, as art historian Christine France notes in the National Gallery of Australia’s Know my name catalog, “Whether consciously or not, his gesture undoubtedly reflects the assimilation policies of the time”.
New York star CJ Hendry’s debut in the Australian aftermarket was successful, with artist participation Red paint sample (small), Blue paint sample (small), 2017, hammering $ 52,000, more than double its low estimate. The work was contested by an international buyer and a bidder in the Menzies Room in Sydney, the international buyer prevailing.
Several works by market favorite Brett Whiteley have performed extremely well, including the new Harry Building – Sydney Harbor, 1976, which sold for $ 94,000 (hammer), or $ 44,000 above its low estimate. Ink on paper, Zen monks, has flown more than four times above its low estimate to hammer $ 55,000. Even more astonishing, a lithograph by Cat, 1980, the artist’s proof of an edition of 100, sold for $ 55,000 (hammer), thus further doubling its low estimate, to become the highest price paid for an edition of this work.
“Whiteley is really a taste of the moment,” said Ballard, who is already working on the next Menzies auction, scheduled for March 2022.
“Based on these results, we are looking for work while the iron is hot. “
Even so, Ballard does not call it a bull market, where unsustainable prices are set.
“We are in a very receptive market,” he said. “It’s receptive to good works and there are a lot of people in the market and a lot of them are new and for us that’s a wonderful thing. “
He is “fairly confident” that the strength of the market will continue into the next year.
“Strong markets bring out strong images and strong prices,” he said.