Sotheby’s has been the leading international auction house in indigenous Australian art for more than two decades. The department was established in 1996 in Australia, where sales were held regularly until 2009. Our Senior Consultant for Australian Art, Tim Klingender, was employed by Sotheby’s for twenty years, where he was an International Director between 1998 and 2009.
Sotheby’s is pleased to announce that our auctions of Aboriginal Art will now be presented in our New York headquarters. The first such sale will be held this November, alongside our marquee auctions of Contemporary Art and will feature works created by artists from the world’s oldest continuous culture, including early museum-quality artefacts dating from the 18th century to cutting-edge post-colonial and political Contemporary Art. The November sale will mark the first Aboriginal Art auction to be held outside of Australia or Europe by an international auction house.
Sotheby’s holds the record for the highest price achieved for Aboriginal Art at auction, as well as the highest overall sale total. Recent sales have included works from some of the world’s most renowned collections, including the Thomas Vroom Collection, the collection of the late Gabrielle Pizzi, and the collection of Fiona Brockhoff. Recent record prices include:
• Highest auction price for a living Australian Aboriginal artist – Michael Nelson Tjakamarra, Five Stories, £401,000
• Highest auction price for an Australian Indigenous sculpture – Benedict Munkara, Untitled, Male and Female Figures of Purukapali and Bima, £251,000
• Highest auction price for an Australian Indigenous artefact – A Broad Shield, Lower Murray River, Early 19th Century, £87,000
• Highest auction price for an Australian Indigenous bark painting – Jack Karedada, Namarali – The First One, £100,000