John Brack - The breakfast table  (1958)

John Brack – The breakfast table (1958) – oil on canvas – 122x68cm

I have my doubts about a lot of Australian art, the European kind in particular. It generally doesn’t stand up well when compared with the best produced elsewhere. I have always felt it suffers from that quality pitfall for an artist who is directed more by a notion of what he believes art should be like rather than by what is genuine. A lot of it is overblown with emotional content, or it is over intellectualized.

What a pleasure it is to see a collection that was able to correct some of that impression. This is the collection of a private collector and generally not seen by the public until some of it was put up for auction recently. The collector, Reg Grundy, who in his youth thought about being an artist, and his wife Joy Chambers, went through a long process before they eventually achieved the quality seen in this collection, by using their eye and emotion as the final arbiter of quality rather than a critical orthodoxy.

William Dobell - Farmyard, Dorking (1934)

William Dobell – Farmyard, Dorking (1934) – oil on canvas – 76x61cm

It is interesting that they have spent considerable time outside Australia where they saw lots of high quality art and their early acquisitions were suffering by comparison. So they were spurred on by this to look for a higher level of quality in their Australian acquisitions.

To see all works that went to auction –
Bonhams Australian Art 26 Jun 2013

Peter Powditch - Sun Torso (1971)

Peter Powditch – Sun Torso (1971) – enamel on masonite – 152x91cm

Sali Herman - In the train (1953)

Sali Herman – In the train (1953) – oil on canvas – 38x48cm

 

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