The autumn 2015 auction was a lively affair and achieved a clearance rate of 80% by volume over the two nights. There were many new clients with a number admitting to attending their first auction and though new comers generally get auction jitters that pattern was not obvious on either night. The phones were busy and absentee bidding was applicable to over 60% of all lots on offer. Activity from the floor was strong.
The viewing numbers and bidder registrations were the highest since we commenced auctioning from the Wilkinson Gallery with a solid mix of new and established clients.
A new auction record of $35,650 inc. buyers premium was set for a work by George Haynes – one of his large landscapes in his salad technique – it was hotly contested with the work being sold to the floor against spirited bidding on the phone.
Good prices were paid for outstanding works by Hugh Sawrey and Robert Dickerson. Paintings by Pro Hart and David Boyd all found willing buyers as they were eagerly competed for on the auction floor as well as the phone.
The internet played a pivotal role in servicing the international market for the many works we had aligned to that area. Bridget Riley’s untitled screen print is headed off to London along with numerous other pieces bought by expats living and working in the area.
The online side of the business has opened a wider market that is available to access across the world. In addition to works heading interstate many have gone to France the UK and the USA
An agreeable aspect of the auction was the relatively solid debut of contemporary Western Australian artist Indra Geidans. Her work was popular during the viewing and sold mid estimate for $1,631.00 inc. buyers premium which is unusual for contemporary painters making their debut at auction. There is generally a significant gap between the primary (gallery) and secondary (auction) markets.
Early to mid period Western Australian works were difficult to sell at this auction. Perhaps because the collectors from that field are finding works to fit their special interests difficult to discover or not quite to the standard they are seeking.
The newer group of buyers don’t seem to know the early West Australian artists and have little exposure to their works other than through auction. The main institutions don’t feature or display these types of works regularly enough, even though they will declare contrary to the fact. AGWA doesn’t seem to grasp the idea that it is a regional gallery and should be displaying and showcasing the work from the region, not minor or irrelevant pieces from elsewhere. I’m of the opinion that visitors to the State Gallery are seeking exposure to the art of the region, not the art of another.