GFL Autumn 2015 Auction Summary

Lot 59 George Haynes – The Valley Below

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.

Lot 93 Bridget Riley – Untitled (Blue) 1978

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

Lot 89 Indra Geidans – Hand and Eye

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.


Auction Preview: Autumn 2015


GFL will offer a compelling and thorough collection of works from historical and contemporary Australian and international artists this autumn in our forthcoming major fine art auction. Among the works is a selection of rare and important pieces relating to Western Australia including Norman Aisbett’s oil painting of roughnecks drilling for oil at the Rough Range Number 1 Oil Well in Exmouth Gulf. And Edith Helena Adie’s watercolour painting of red and blue waterlillies in Queen’s Gardens in Perth.

Evening Session I – Lots 1 to 110
Tuesday 26th May at 7.00pm

Evening Session II – Lots 111 to 237
Wednesday 27th May at 7.00pm

Wilkinson Gallery
GATE 1 – Claremont Showgrounds
1 Graylands Rd, Claremont
Western Australia

Saturday 23rd May 11:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday 24th May 11:00am – 5:00pm
Monday 25th May 10:00am – 6:30pm

Place and Journey Auction Summary

Lot 36 Naata Nungurrayi – Women’s Ceremony

Place and Journey was the collection of Dr Duncan Steed and was the first single vender auction of aboriginal artworks that GFL have conducted in its 25 years of operation.

The response to the offering was strong and from all corners of the globe. Works were shipped to Holland, Canada, France, USA, England, Belgium and most states in Australia.

“I was surprised at the interest” said Patricia Flanagan a director of GFL Fine Art, “I did notice many new faces view the collection and return for the auction, which was held on a Sunday afternoon to allow for people from the Northam and York regions to participate in person.”

“The internet enabled our interstate and international clients to participate in real time as well. This is the third time our auction has been broadcast live over the internet” she added.

Top price on the day was $19,550 inc. buyers premium for an impressive work by Naata Nungurrayi followed by $17,800 inc. buyers premium for a large Texas Downs work by Freddie Timms.

Lot 35 Freddie Timms – Maisie Springs Texas Downs

The clearance rate was 83% by volume and 88% by value with the quiet area of the sale being the contemporary non indigenous items which were a little out of their normal market place.

There was little doubt that the auction was a success. The venue showed off the works to their best advantage and they all worked well as an exhibition. This is an area of the market that we have not explored before and based on this result, we will be visiting it again preferably with another single vender offering.


Place and Journey Recollections An Interview with Dr Duncan Steed

Photo - Dr Steed2
Dr Duncan Steed

When Dr Duncan Steed walked into GFL, I’d never seen anything like it; painting after painting followed him through the doors, all meticulously wrapped and catalogued, and each one with its own dossier of information that he had been maintaining and gathering over the many years that he’s been collecting.

How fascinating, I remember thinking, what a detailed and thoughtful collection, and as I sat down later to speak with Dr Steed it struck me that those characteristics were synonymous with the man himself.

Primarily a General Practitioner and Associate Professor, it soon became obvious to me that he was somewhat of a philanthropist with a keen sense of humanity and a deep-seated interest in the human condition. For Dr Steed, becoming involved in the essence of a place and people is an innate characteristic.

Before moving to Western Australia 25 years ago he moved from England to New Zealand where he spent 15 years. It was there that he immersed himself in the Maori culture, learning their language, holding workshops and teaching indigenous boys in prison.

Many years later he moved from Perth to rural WA, York, where similarly he became immersed in and dedicated to the community. Dr Sreed is widely recognised by the people of york for his commitment and contributions to the local practice and healthcare facilities.

His first purchase of Australian Aboriginal work was a 19th century collection of artefacts. He was in his 20’s and over the years has given them away to family and friends, “it’s odd that I seem to do that occasionally.”

When he begun collecting Australian art his advisor pointed him in the direction of aboriginal art for its freshness and cultural value. “I didn’t really think of investment when I first started looking at Australian art but everyone said, buy aboriginal art!”

“Once you get to that point you should start looking at it a bit carefully because you’re missing something if you don’t.”

From that point on his collection grew exponentially, as did his appreciation for aboriginal art and people. It was refressing to sit and talk with Dr Steed, a man of 70 years who has a verve and curiosity about him and a vitalising wonderment for the indigenous culture.

It was no surprise when he told me that during one of his trips to Kununurra he met with Freddy Timms and had a lengthy chat with the artist, only to be told later by the agent that it was the longest she’d ever seen Timms chat to anybody.

“I’m now at the age of 70 where you have to look at selling collections because you’ve just got to that age, but I’m very happy that I was talked into getting more involved in aboriginal art because I’ve enjoyed it greatly.”

Dr Steed’s main appreciation for his collection lies in the artwork’s ability to start a dialogue with its culture. “I’ve always had them all the way up and down the medical centres and I’ve noticed aboriginal women talking to their children about the art and I’ve certainly had non-aboriginal people from overseas looking at the artwork with great interest.”

“When I took some of mine down to GFL there were quite a few people in York who were quite upset that I’d taken them all down, because they liked it.”

He describes works from his collection fondly with words like beautiful, stunning and spiritual.

“I’ve learned to love them now and I’ll miss them all and that’s just from getting to know more about aboriginal art, it makes you feel more comfortable with them. It takes away some of their criticisms and makes you more open to them as friendly communication.”

Although Dr Steed is selling a large portion of his collection, he has no doubt that he will continue to selectively acquire works over time.

Olivia Gardner