Spring 2016 Auction Highlight Elwyn “Jack” Lynn

ELWYN “JACK” LYNN

“The traces of time are all around us and they have little effect on our senses that is, until it becomes time to paint the house”.

Elwyn Lynn

Lot 170 Elwyn Lynn - Shikamoto
Lot 170 Elwyn Lynn – Shikamoto

When he saw the work of the European artists Antonio Tapies and Emil Schumaker in 1958 Lynn’s eyes were opened to the visual excitement that time and the elements can induce. He was touring Europe and had seen their paintings at the Venice Biennale and was astounded that the weathering effect on ordinary everyday items could be the subject for sublime works of art.

He became an immediate enthusiast for textural paintings and was eager to explore the possibilities of this new form of expression and how it could relate to Australia with all its variables and ruggedness of climate.

Texture painting fitted perfectly into the Australian artistic oeuvre, but intellectually in the 50’s it was astray. Australia was isolated and not ready for abstraction – World War II was still fresh in the memory and abstraction was viewed as an international conspiracy. The influence of the traditional and modern figurative painters was in power and difficult to dislodge.

Lynn viewed this disinterest as a challenge and in addition to creating visually uplifting works he applied an intellectual component and titled his works accordingly.

He trusted that the viewer after digesting the visual and tactile elements of the artwork would search for the meaning of the title and understand how the piece fitted the name – unfortunately his trust was in vain. Very few rose to the challenge and visually his work failed to interest those outside of the major collecting institutions.

Lynn provided for his family through teaching, writing and critiquing and every spare moment saw him at work in his studio persisting and finding satisfaction in his output. He never lost confidence in his direction and persevered until the end. He knew that his position in Australian Art History could not be undone and the time for wider appeal of his works would arrive.

Lot 98 Elwyn Lynn - Epilogue
Lot 98 Elwyn Lynn – Epilogue

When he saw the work of the European artists Antonio Tapies and Emil Schumaker in 1958 Lynn’s eyes were opened to the visual excitement that time and the elements can induce. He was touring Europe and had seen their paintings at the Venice Biennale and was astounded that the weathering effect on ordinary everyday items could be the subject for sublime works of art.

He became an immediate enthusiast for textural paintings and was eager to explore the possibilities of this new form of expression and how it could relate to Australia with all its variables and ruggedness of climate.

Texture painting fitted perfectly into the Australian artistic oeuvre, but intellectually in the 50’s it was astray. Australia was isolated and not ready for abstraction – World War II was still fresh in the memory and abstraction was viewed as an international conspiracy. The influence of the traditional and modern figurative painters was in power and difficult to dislodge.

Lynn viewed this disinterest as a challenge and in addition to creating visually uplifting works he applied an intellectual component and titled his works accordingly.

He trusted that the viewer after digesting the visual and tactile elements of the artwork would search for the meaning of the title and understand how the piece fitted the name – unfortunately his trust was in vain. Very few rose to the challenge and visually his work failed to interest those outside of the major collecting institutions.

Lynn provided for his family through teaching, writing and critiquing and every spare moment saw him at work in his studio persisting and finding satisfaction in his output. He never lost confidence in his direction and persevered until the end. He knew that his position in Australian Art History could not be undone and the time for wider appeal of his works would arrive.

Spring 2016 Auction Highlight John Santry

Lot 2 John Santry - Farmyard Scene
Lot 2 John Santry – Farmyard Scene

Townscapes and landscapes and the creatures that inhabited them, all form part of the imagery that John Santry is famous for.

One of the first Australian artists to paint rural and urban scenes, his drawing skills and discipline allowed him to capture the areas he frequented, in a style unique to himself.

With his figure studies, he was able to find that hint of larrikin that permeates Australian society. His pastoral landscapes (that were usually painted on a Saturday) contain a serenity and stillness that became his hallmark.

Before the arrival of the émigré artists from Europe, the landscape was the main source of inspiration for the locals. Santry along with fellow members of the Northwood Group would pack their kits on most Saturday mornings and head to the countryside to paint. They wouldn’t return until dusk. George Lawrence, Lloyd Rees and Roland Wakelin were the other members and Douglas Dundas occasionally joined them.

They were sober trips, full of fun and work, with the ritual baked rabbit, pickled onion and bread roll being the meal of the day. The camaraderie between the group remained until the last. At some times they were each others crutch and at others a source of amusement. Wakelin would say “what’s the point in having friends if you can’t poke fun at them.”

Drawing skills and figurative work set Santry apart from the others. He conducted drawing classes from his home on Thursday afternoons and two of his early students were Brett Whiteley and Michael Johnson. He thought Whiteley was a talented showman with a great ability to draw portraits and Johnson equally as gifted though quieter.

Both established profiles much higher than his. He was never envious and drew comfort from his early and significant influence in their development.

Santry didn’t pursue critical success and never worked with large canvases. He had little need, as he was able to capture the breadth of the landscape on a small panel, and the spirit of a person with a few brush strokes.

He wasn’t a showman he was just quiet and disciplined, with a fine sense of humour.

Spring 2016 Auction Highlight Frank Hodgkinson

Lot 31 Frank Hodgkinson - Daya de Mallorca
Lot 31 Frank Hodgkinson – Daya de Mallorca

In 1963 when this picture was painted, Frank Hodgkinson was living in Spain. He had been working in Europe for 5 years and had and exhibited with the contemporary Spanish painters  including Antonio Tapies and Manolo Millares who would go on to become important figures in world art.

During his time in Spain Hodgkinson’s found use for a variety of different materials in his abstractions nothing organic or mineral was too experimental, as long as they were available and fit the mood of the work – all were used. Sand; saw dust; Hessian; string, mineral or organic he became interested in the materials required to capture image he was pursuing and to introduce various texture into the composition. He developed a feeling for the Spanish culture in the process and his Spanish years have been described as a form of awakening to the freedom of abstraction in a manner in which he’d never experienced before.

Lot 124 Frank Hodgkinson - Deya de Mallorca
Lot 124 Frank Hodgkinson – Deya de Mallorca

Hodgkinson was such an integral part of the Spanish Contemporary Art scene that his work was included in the 1961 exhibition of “Contemporary Spanish Painting” that toured the major cities of Europe including Brussels, Helsinki, Amsterdam, Munich and Milan. And again in 1961 he participated in an exhibition called Twenty Years of Vanguard Painting in Spain held in Madrid. Carlos Antonio Arean wrote in the catalogue “…A painter of many a synthesis, gained intimately from the Spanish painting, Hodgkinson must be considered one of the best connoisseurs of the secrets of the substance and new potentialities of the function of painting existing in Spain.”

His time in Spain was not without its drama and at an official government exhibition of his pictures in Madrid’s Sala del Prado several of the landscape works were considered so erotic that they were censored and removed from exhibition – the censorship drew international attention. Hodgkinson was to remain in Spain until moving to Rome in 1969.

An important painter, Hodgkinson’s Spanish works are considered among his finest.

Spring 2016 Auction Highlight Kathleen O’Connor

Lot 62 Kathleen O'Connor - Portrait of Frances Hodgkins
Lot 62 Kathleen O’Connor – Portrait of Frances Hodgkins

Kathleen O’Connor’s return to Australia from France in 1948 had an unfortunate consequence. Australian Customs in Fremantle impounded the artworks that she had sent from her Parisian studio and demanded 20% duty. The Custom’s officials had determined that as the paintings were foreign and had come to Australia for sale, duty was applicable. Unfortunately no amount of pleading by the artist or high powered intervention on her behalf could alter that ruling.

As she could not afford to pay the total duty, only 150 of the works survived and the balance was destroyed. In 1948 Australia, there were no arts programs in place to assist in her plight and we are left to ponder the enormity of the loss from a cultural and historical perspective. It was said that Miss O’Connor was vigilant in ensuring that the works she couldn’t afford to keep, were destroyed and did not get redirected.

Born in New Zealand in 1876 Kathleen O’Connor arrived in Western Australia in 1891. Her father, the celebrated engineer C.Y. O’Connor, had accepted the position of Engineer-in Chief with the Western Australian Government. She studied at the Perth Technical School under JWR Linton and at the Bushey School of Art in London under Frank Brangwyn and Hubert von Herkomer.

O’Connor settled in Paris in 1910 and apart from the war years lived and worked there until her return to Australia in 1948. She associated with many artists of her time including, Vuillard, Sickert, van Dongen, Modigliani and Chagall. Her Australasian associates included Rupert Bunny, Frances Hodgkins and Roy de Maistre.

Kathleen O’Connor identified the sitter in this work as Frances Hodgkins to Daniel Thomas during an interview. It was one of those works she chose to include in the 150 pieces she could afford to keep.

Timed Auctions A Step by Step Guide

The latest addition to GFL Fine Art online is the incorporation of Timed Auctions. Please read the following guide for more information on how to bid in one of GFL Fine Art’s timed online auctions.

 

 

Step 1: Registration

1.    Timed Auctions Menu:

You can view our current timed online auction by clicking on the Timed Auctions link in the menu on GFL Fine Arts website. On this page you will be able to view the online catalogue of artworks that are currently live at auction. Click the images for more information and to bid.

2.    Register for a GFL Fine Art Account:

To register for GFL’s timed auctions click here or select My Account in the dropdown menu under Timed Auctions. Follow the prompts on this page to register. Once you have created an account with GFL you can return to this page to log in during future visits, to bid in future auctions, or to manage your purchases, addresses and account details.

Clicking Bid on an artwork for the first time will direct you to the registrations and login page before you are able to bid.

GFL Fine Art requests that you are familiar with our Timed Auctions Conditions of Sale when registering. You can read the Conditions of Sale by clicking here or by selecting Conditions of Sale in the drop down menu under Timed Auctions.

3.    Browse the online catalogue:

Once the auction is live, artwork descriptions, images, estimates and bidding is available in the online catalogue throughout the duration of the auction. For a condition report or to arrange an inspection we encourage you to contact our specialists by emailing sales@gflfineart.com or by calling (08)9386 8577.

 

 

Step 2: Bidding

4.    Place a bid:

Bids may be submitted by clicking the blue Bid button under the artwork description on the artwork’s webpage. Bidding increments have been set prior to the auction by our auctioneer. Bids increase by either $10, $20, $50 or $100 based on the estimated value of the artwork. You may enter the maximum bid that you are willing to go to and our bidding platform will place incremental bids on your behalf as much as is required to ensure that you remain the highest bidder (up to your maximum bid). In cases when two equivalent maximum bids are submitted, the first bid received will take priority. If you are outbid at any time you will receive an email indicating this. You may then choose to enter another bid or not.

5.    Monitor your bids:

Once you have left a bid on a lot, you will be notified on screen if you are the highest bidder. If you are subsequently outbid, you will be notified by email and provided with a link to the artwork to increase your bid should you choose to do so. We encourage you to monitor your lots over the course of the auction to ensure that you remain the highest bidder up until the close of the auction.

6.    Auction closes:

An end time is displayed for each lot in the online catalogue. Lots will close in five minute increments.

7.    Your purchases:

If you remain the highest bidder, you will receive an email upon close of bidding notifying you of your purchase(s). To check the status of a particular lot, visit the individual lot page while logged into your GFL Fine Art account.

 

 

Step 3: Payments and Shipping

8.    Payment:

You will receive an email shortly after the auction prompting you to the payments webpage, there you can see your total charges (including buyers premium) along with payment instructions and a shipping quote. Payments of check or direct deposit are accepted. For more information on shipping please click here, or visit the Shipping link on the dropdown menu under Timed Auctions.

 

Please refer to our Conditions of Sale under any uncertainty and contact sales@gflfineart.com or phone (08)9386 8577.

Recollections on Miriam Stannage by Dr Phillip McNamara

Image credited to the Department of Arts and Culture WA
Image credit to the Department of Arts and Culture WA

GFL Fine Art is deeply saddened by the news of the recent passing of acclaimed Western Australian artist Miriam Stannage. What follows is an article of recollections by her close friend and colleague Dr. Phillip McNamara. 

 

Miriam Helen Stannage died early Sunday morning (September 11th, 2016). She will be remembered by the art world for her 50 plus years of creativity – in installation, paint, photography, drawing, video and artists books – and affectionately by many artists for her quiet support of their art. Miriam diligently visited local exhibitions for decades, often leaving appreciative reflections in exhibition comments books and taking home catalogues that she inevitably passed on to me for my archives.

Miriam had many long lasting friendships. Ours lasted from 1980 until her death. I first knew of Miriam  through the praises of her brother,  the historian Tom Stannage (who worked with my father on The People of Perth) and a couple of simple line drawings of hers shown at the upstairs Carroll’s Bookshop Gallery in Hay Street.  More formal introductions occurred through my interest in the work of George Duerden, Cliff Jones and the Henry Froudist studio of the mid to late 1960’s.

untitled-25238
Untitled – vaccum painting in blue and purple

Cliff and George had both done portraits of Miriam, and a vacuum cleaner spray painting (in greens and yellows) from her 1969 show of abstracts at the Old Fire Station Gallery hung in Cliff’s print making studio. I knew how radical the abstract was for both Perth and Australian art of the period and was smitten. That both these men spoke so admiringly and affectionately about her also impressed me. They informed me that she had been very important for the promotion of modernism in Perth, firstly through setting up her own gallery in 1965 (the Rhode Gallery), and through her work in establishing the Contemporary Art Society with Guy Grey Smith.  They were proud that Bernard Smith had controversially chosen one of her spray painted abstracts as the winner of the 1970 Albany Art Prize. This was clearly an independent and self-actualising person.

I became a very close friend of Miriam when I started writing a thesis about the work of Tom Gibbons – Miriam’s husband. Their conversations about art, film, philosophy, religion, art and the art world were perceptive, informative and fun to be a part of. I visited regularly and continued to do so after Tom’s death in 2012. They were very hospitable; Miriam liked Wagon Wheel biscuits and any cake from Ruby’s Patisserie in Tuart Hill.

Both Miriam and Tom were mentors in teaching me how to see beauty and poignant mysteriousness in ordinary things. Both had a religious sensibility and saw the everyday world as a celebration of the divine. Both were playful, conceptually witty and intellectually quick, whilst also being disciplined in their art practices.

wildflowers-ii-1201
Wildflowers II

I admired many things about Miriam. One was that she was very self-reliant and would go off camping by herself in the wheat belt and National Parks. One of her favourite areas was Cape Le Grand National Park near Esperance, so she didn’t mind a drive. She also had fond memories of the Northam area, where she was born in 1939, and she would go see the wild flowers every year between there and New Norcia (work from some of her most significant series are in the Monastery collection there). A pastel drawing of wild flowers by her was one of the first works I ever bought. She loved native gardens and established a fine one at her home. Miriam was also a keen bird watcher and so liked the fact that many species were attracted to her garden. Delighting in being close to nature Miriam either walked along Trigg beach near Mettams Pool, or around one of several lakes near her home, every day.

She was physically very fit, so it was a shock to be told by her that she had a terminal tumour. More so that it came less than a year after she had been named a State Living Treasure.

The last few months of her life demonstrate many of the traits that I loved. Miriam saw the interconnection – the associations, symbolism and archetypal – in all things. It was innate. Hence when she rang me on Easter Sunday and asked me to come see her in person, as she had something important but sad to tell me, I feared the worst. Miriam was also pragmatic and lived life on her own terms so it didn’t surprise me that when we met she also said that she had chosen not to undertake radical treatment and, though it would be a difficult journey, she would let it take its course. She asked me not to tell anyone else as she didn’t want people fussing.

The prognosis was a couple of months so Miriam didn’t expect to see the catalogue she had been working on with Lea Kinsella published, nor know how the accompanying Lawrence Wilson survey exhibition was received. But she was delighted that Lea had been interviewing her regularly for years and that the survey of her most recent significant series was occurring. It was with great satisfaction that we read and discussed the proofs that Ted Snell and Lea expedited to her.

Blue Poles Debate From Hansard
Blue Poles Debate From Hansard

Her situation became more widely known when the exhibition Miriam Stannage: Survey 2006-2016 opened at the Lawrence Wilson in July. By then she was in Hollywood hospital just down the road. There was much poignancy at the opening when people learnt the reason for her absence. On opening night I took Miriam a video that Michele (my wife) made of the occasion. Miriam had been imagining the day and the various proceedings and so we watched the recording of it many times. It may give people some joy to know that Miriam was very pleased with how the show was hung and the celebrative atmosphere of the opening. She recognised many people in the crowd, was delighted for their continued support, and it sparked many conversations about Perth art and exhibitions she had seen over the years.

One regret Miriam voiced to me was that she didn’t have the energy to write the many letters to friends and supporters that she had thought she would whilst in hospice. Miriam wanted people to know that she was very grateful for the kind comments on her art and she wanted to also encourage many younger artists to keep going! I said I’d pass these messages on.

Miriam faced her last journey with great courage and typical wry humour. When I asked about her funeral and whether she wanted me to say anything she said “Just put a pile of Lea’s book up the back and say ‘If you want to know anything about Miriam or her art, everything she wanted to share is in those books, so buy a copy as you leave.’” She added wryly that her archives – including the diaries she wrote in everyday of her life – had already gone to the National Library with a caveat of 25 years on them, so if you wanted to know more you’d have to wait.

Question & Answer (Q&A International Flag Code)
Question & Answer (Q&A International Flag Code)

Miriam also suggested that, as a last art installation idea and as homage to her Security Notice and surveillance series, I should put a camera sticking up out of the flowers on her coffin and attach an all-seeing eye camera to the front of the lectern. She smiled at the surreal idea that she – as artist – would be with us and “watching with an unblinking eye” as we looked on. She seriously thought about the request for quite a while. She always revised her art before deciding on final configurations, so she played with several ideas before taking the camera poking from the flowers out. She chuckled about the lectern. Eventually she said something along the lines of “There will be children there and some people who might not understand that as an art piece. Who wants to leave a funeral with more questions than answers, perhaps not… there are too many possible reactions and I don’t want to upset people who may already be upset, but it’s a great idea.”  We both laughed at the irony because Guy Grey-Smith, in the early 1960’s, had told Tom Gibbons that “art isn’t made with ideas” then Miriam, from the late 1960’s on, had pursued conceptual art throughout her oeuvre.

I already miss her greatly. I loved her dearly. She is a major Australian artist. She didn’t want to make a fuss… yet the legacy of her art oeuvre will continue to intrigue audiences for many generations on.

Phillip McNamara

 

Video Preview: Highlights of our Contemporary Collector’s Art Market August 2016

GFL Fine Art’s Communications Manager Olivia Gardner discusses the highlights of our Contemporary Collector’s Art Market Sunday Auction, August 2016. The auction includes works by Howard Taylor, William Boissevain, Marie Hobbs, Miriam Stannage, Ben Stack, Fern Petrie, Elwyn Lynn, Harald Vike, Joanna Lamb, Robert Juniper, Mac Betts and many more.