View full screen - View 1 of Lot 39. Kirritjinya, 1989.
39

Anatjari (Yanyatjarri) Tjakamarra

Kirritjinya, 1989

Property from a European Private Collection

Anatjari (Yanyatjarri) Tjakamarra

Anatjari (Yanyatjarri) Tjakamarra

Kirritjinya, 1989

Kirritjinya, 1989

Authenticity guarantee

What is guaranteed?

Property from a European Private Collection


Anatjari (Yanyatjarri) Tjakamarra

Circa 1938-1992

Kirritjinya, 1989


Synthetic polymer paint on linen

Bears John Weber Gallery, New York, label on stretcher on the reverse

71 ⅞ in by 47 ⅞ in (183 by 122 cm)

The painting is in excellent condition overall with no visible repairs or restorations. The painting is unframed with only very minor scuffing at the corners.


In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD “AS IS” IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.

Painted in the Ngaanyatjarra community of Tjukurla, Western Australia, in 1989 for Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs, Northern Territory
John Weber Gallery, New York
European Private Collection, acquired from the above in 1989 
John Weber Gallery, New York, Anatjari Tjakamarra, 2-23 December 1989 

"I like the way they move the paint around."1 These words were uttered by John Weber (1932-2008) in 1989 to explain his interest in the paintings of the Papunya Tula artists as he mounted two major exhibitions of their work at his gallery in New York. The first, Papunya Tula: Paintings from Australia’s Western Desert, followed the ground-breaking exhibition Dreamings: The Art of Aboriginal Australia at the Asia Society Galleries in New York.


In December 1989, Weber devoted an entire show to the recent paintings of Anatjari Tjakamarra, the first solo exhibition of an Indigenous Australian artist in a private gallery in New York. This exhibition included Kirritjinya, 1989. The Metropolitan Museum of Art made a significant statement in its long history of collecting the art of the world with the acquisition of Tjakamarra’s Tingari Cycle Dreaming at Paratjakutti, 1989, from the exhibition: this was the first painting by a living Australian Aboriginal artist and the first work by any Indigenous artist to enter the Museum’s collection of Modern and Contemporary Art.


Anatjari Tjakamarra was a member of the very first group of artists at the government settlement of Papunya to take up painting in synthetic paints in 1971. The group initiated a movement that revolutionized the art of the Western Desert and in turn Australian art history, and that is now recognized throughout the world of contemporary art. However, throughout his painting career, Anatjari maintained a conservative attitude in preserving Pintupi culture in the face of the dramatically changing social and cultural conditions imposed by the new regime. He and his family were among the last Pintupi people to have walked from their remote traditional lands in the Gibson Desert to resettle at Papunya far to the east in 1966. Nonetheless, Anatjari continued to yearn for his homelands and, in the early 1980s, he led a group in establishing an outstation at Tjukurla, between Kintore and Docker River, on Ngaanyatjarra country with which he was affiliated. Here he painted Kirritjinya in the late southern winter and early spring of 1989.


The subject and imagery in the painting are comparable to that in Anatjari’s Women’s Dreaming that appeared on the invitation to his solo show at the John Weber Gallery, and to the Metropolitan’s Tingari Cycle Dreaming at Paratjakutti. All three works were painted in the same year.

Wally Caruana


1. Fred Myers, Painting Culture: The Making of an Aboriginal High Art, Duke University Press, Durham, North Carolina, 2002, p. 282.