Aboriginal Art

Aboriginal Art

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 15. EMILY KAME KNGWARREYE | SUMMER CELEBRATION.


Auction Closed

December 13, 10:40 PM GMT


300,000 - 400,000 USD

Lot Details


Property from the Collection of Thomas Vroom


CIRCA 1910-1996


Synthetic polymer paint on canvas

Bears Delmore Gallery catalogue number 91L04

47 ⅝ in by 118 ⅞ in (121 cm by 302 cm)

Kasper Konig, Emily Joyce Evans, Falk Wolf, eds., Remembering Forward: Australian Aboriginal painting since 1960, London and Cologne, 2010, p. 35 (fold out)

Untitled (Summer Celebration)'is one of a series of large canvases painted in the heat of the Australian summer at the very end of 1991. It is among the first works Emily Kame Kngwarreye painted on a scale that allowed her to emphasize the broad expanse of her country, drawing the viewer into the pictorial space. Painted during a time of intense ceremonial activity, the black ground of the work may allude to the skin of ritual participants whose bodies Kngwarreye would mark with ancestral designs, while the size of the canvas infers the expanse of the ceremonial ground.

The canvases of this period also herald the beginnings of Kngwarreye’s adventurous experimentation with an extended palette, moving away from pure earth colours of natural ochres to describe the flowers and seeds of the yam tuber, the staple of the desert diet, in richer, subtle tones of secondary and tertiary colors. The paintings are remarkable in the span of Kngwarreye’s œuvre in that the fields of dots now appear to float across the picture plane and beyond, free from the faint remnants of the underlying matrix that regulated the compositional structures of her earlier paintings.

According to the eminent curator Judith Ryan, Kngwarreye’s ‘increasingly daring compositions of color, tone and line came to be appreciated as undiluted expressions…independent of any accompanying [narrative] documentation…The potency of the paint obviated the need for written explanations’.1

1. Judith Ryan, ‘ “In the beginning is my end”: The singular art of Emily Kame Kngwarreye’ in Neale, M (ed), Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Paintings from Utopia, Queensland Art Gallery and Macmillan, Brisbane, 1998, pp.41-43.

Wally Caruana