Bonhams Australia offers exceptional Aboriginal works consigned from Spain
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Bonhams Australia offers exceptional Aboriginal works consigned from Spain
Long Jack Philipus Tjakamarra, Untitled (Kalipinya), 1972. Photo: Bonhams.

SYDNEY.- Bonhams Australia announced its Aboriginal art auction comprising works from the collection of the Spanish surrealist sculptor, Eudald Serra (1911-2002). Once held and exhibited in Barcelona, the collection has arrived in Australia to be offered for the first time at auction. The highlight is undoubtedly Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra’s monumental Untitled (Kalipinya), 1972 (lot 16, estimate: $70,000-100,000), the largest Papunya board ever to come to market (119 x 122cm).

The Serra Collection came about due to the passion and spirit of adventure of three individuals whose paths serendipitously crossed in the late 1940s. Eudald Serra, Augusto Panyella (1921-1999), director of the Ethnology Museum of Barcelona and chemist/businessman Alberto Folch (1892-1984). Throughout the 1960s and 70s, Serra, Folch and Panyella undertook expeditions to some of the most remote parts of the globe selecting and purchasing for the Ethnology Museum and their private collections.

Folch and Serra took two trips to Australia when Serra collected the 11 bark paintings including two works by Yirawala, known as the ‘Picasso’ of Arnhem Land, four sculptures from Central Arnhem Land featuring an impressive Mokuy figure by Lipundja and the extraordinary Papunya board offered in this sale.

Francesca Cavazzini, Aboriginal Art Specialist comments: ‘We are delighted to include Long Jack’s remarkable and historically important board, painted in 1972, one of the key years marking the dawn of the Western Desert Painting Movement. There are very few known examples of this scale by any Papunya artist. The painting depicts the artist’s ancestral country and birthplace, Kalipinypa, using the traditional ground painting designs associated with Water and Rain Dreamings.’

Commenting on the sale, Merryn Schriever Director Bonhams Australia said: ‘It is extremely rare for a work of such importance by one of the founding members of the Papunya Tula Artists to come to market. Though the worlds that Serra and Long Jack inhabited could not have been more different or distant, Serra was drawn to this masterpiece by a fellow ‘avant-garde’ artist and we are delighted to have it back in Australia once more for sale’.

Also featured in the auction is a rare engraved work on wood, Untitled (Wanjinas), c.1980 by master Wanjina artist, Alec Mingelmanganu, (lot 24, estimate: $9,000-12,000); a group of 19th-century artefacts; an impressive painting by Maggie Watson Napangardi, Mina Mina, 1995 (lot 34, estimate: $30,000-50,000); an exceptional bark painting by Yirwala, Two Kangaroos, c.1965 (lot 29: estimate: $8,000-12,000) and Rover Thomas’s, Untitled, (lot 30: $20,000-30,000).

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