ART MARKET / Up for sale

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The Independent Culture
IN MELBOURNE, Australia, on Tuesday Christie's will sell the collection of Australian paintings formed by Alan Bond, the rags to riches to rags again tycoon who recently received a prison sentence for dishonest behaviour. His personal investments, such as pictures, were held by a company called Dallhold Investments and the paintings have been sent for sale by Dallhold's official liquidator. They range from 18th-century watercolours by the first explorers, to early convict landscapes, to 19th-century genre and landscape paintings. The estimated value is about pounds 4m. Alan Bond's most famous art purchase, Van Gogh's Irises - which cost him dollars 54m (pounds 33m) in 1987 - has already been sold to the Getty Museum. The liquidator has only consigned one Impressionist to Christie's, a Renoir valued at about pounds 1.5m, which is to be sold in London later this year. Below are some stars in Tuesday's sale.

A portrait of 'Cobbawn Wogi, Native Chief of Ashe Island, Hunters River, New South Wales', which was painted in 1820 in watercolour by Richard Browne (1776-1824), a former convict. Browne was an Irish convict whose sentence, served at Newcastle, expired in 1817. He made a name as an artist by painting landscapes and the daily life of the Aborigines. Alan Bond had several of the latter. This one is estimated at pounds 6,000-pounds 7,500.

Conrad Martens (1808-1878) was one of the Australian tycoon's favourite landscapists. There are no less than nine of his paintings in Christie's sale. This panoramic view of Sydney 'looking from the North Shore towards the City' was painted in watercolour thickened with gum arabic and is estimated to make between pounds 75,000 and pounds 90,000.

'Feeding Time' by Frederick McCubbin, which was painted in 1893, is now regarded as one of the landmarks in Australian art. In the 1890s, the artist set out to document various aspects of the pioneer life in Australia before they were lost as a result of urban progress. It's expected that this will fetch between pounds 175,000 and pounds 225,000 in the sale.

A painting of his sister and her children by Rupert Charles Wulsten Bunny (1864-1947) is estimated to sell for pounds 200,000-pounds 300,000. 'Mrs Herbert Jones and her Daughters, Hilda and Dulce' was painted in 1903-04. He was the first Australian artist to have work bought by the French.

'The Camp' (1953) by Sir George Russell Drysdale is estimated at pounds 100,000-pounds 125,000. Drysdale (1912-1981) went to the Cape York Peninsula in 1951; this led to 'the first paintings of Aborigines to have any universal significance as art', according to the artist's biographer, Geoffrey Dutton.

(Photographs omitted)

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