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Sir Elton John's Emily Kngwarreye painting leads Bonhams' June sale
Emily Kngwarreye, My Country, 1993. Photo: Bonhams.

SYDNEY.- An Emily Kngwarreye painting owned by Sir Elton John and his husband David Furnish will lead Bonhams’ auction of Important Australian and Aboriginal Art in Sydney on June 6.

The impressive work, which is almost four metres wide, has been in the collection of Sir Elton and Mr Furnish for two decades and was featured in a major touring exhibition almost a decade ago.

My Country, 1993 depicts the abundant summer flora of Kngwarreye’s traditional lands at Alhalker, on the north-western edge of Utopia, with the vivid yellows, ochres and pinks representing the blossoms, seeds and pencil yams of the artist’s birthplace.

In 2008, My Country was one of the major works included in Utopia: The Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, which toured to Japan’s National Museum of Art in Osaka and the National Art Center in Tokyo before showing at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.

Sir Elton is renowned as a passionate and discerning collector of fine art, and his private collection includes many iconic contemporary works by artists such as Willem de Kooning, Louise Bourgeois, Gilbert & George, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

The singer is also an avid collector of rare photographs, and 150 of his modernist masterpieces by the likes of Man Ray, Alexander Rodchenko and Brassai are currently showing at the Tate Modern, London, as part of the exhibition ‘A Radical Eye: the Sir Elton John Collection’.

Bonhams Australia chairman Mark Fraser said it was a privilege to be auctioning the painting on behalf of Sir Elton and Mr Furnish.

“Bonhams is pleased to have the opportunity to offer this artwork from such an esteemed collection,” Mr Fraser said.

“It is fitting to think that this vibrant and colourful work by Australia’s foremost Indigenous artist caught the eye of one of the world’s most vibrant and colourful global superstars.”

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