Auction 59 Highlights

Welcome to Smalls Sale 59.

This sale should be named “things to hang on your wall” with its eclectic mix of Art, Antique Maps and Historical Prints.

One of the highlights in the Art category is the small oil by the great Australian War Artist George Washington Lambert. Major works by Lambert take pride of place at the Australian War Memorial. A ‘War Painting’ does not compete with a ‘War Photograph’ which captures an actual moment or its aftermath but, is more an allegorical representation of a pivotal event. The artist relies on a memory bank of incidents often captured in small studies that are later utilised in a major work and, the unnamed work on offer is one such study. It shows an enemy attack on a Camel-train in Palestine, an incident which may have been witnessed by Lambert but was more likely relayed to him. In its story-telling it captures perfectly the personal terror of war - with one sad casualty, a comrade contemplating that ‘it could have been me,’ a cowering trooper waiting for the next shot to ring out and another stupidly brave trooper still perched on his camel in the direct line of fire.

Another highlight or highlights are the small group of works by Aboriginal Artists ‘Otto Pareroultja’ and ‘Richard Moketarinja’ put together in 1949 by the collector Gene van Grecken on a visit to the Lutheran Hermannsburg Mission in Central Australia. Collectors of Australian Art would be familiar with the works of Albert Namatjira who painted alongside these two artists and who went on to mainstream success in the sale rooms. Namatjira was a realist whose work mimicked conservative western tastes while the art of Pareroultja and his acolyte Moketarinja was more ‘impressionistic. Neither of these artists were likely aware of this European artistic movement and so their ‘spiritual’ take on the Australian landscape was purely instinctive. It is a shame that these two artists have largely fallen off the back of the truck because to a modern eye the Aboriginality that permeates their works is pioneering.

Also, on offer is a large selection of maps and prints taken from the First French Edition of John Hawkesworth’s account of Cook’s first ‘Voyage of Discovery’ on the Endeavour. They have survived in remarkable condition and framed-up would nicely fit out the study of a collector with a maritime bent.

A rare offering of original photographic studies of Australian Aborigines from the studios of Charles Woolley, John Lindt, Carl Ehlers, Paul Foelsche & Charles Kerry is also featured.

All in all, a cornucopia of visual delights.

Smalls Auctions