A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden
Aboriginal art set to pass $1m mark
August 30, 2005 found at daily telegraph
A Rover Thomas Aboriginal painting bought for less than $5000 in 1986 could sell for more than $1 million when it comes under the hammer for the first time in Melbourne tonight.
Auctioneers say Rover Thomas's Lundari is expected to fetch between $800,000 and $1.2 million, and could well go over the $1-million mark.
Another of Thomas's works already holds the record for the highest price paid for an Aboriginal art work. All That Big Rain Coming From the Top Side sold for $778,750 in 2001.
The Holmes a Court Collection bought Lundari in 1986 for less than $5000.
Christie's Aboriginal art specialist, Shaun Dennison, said several private and public bidders, both local and overseas, were expected.
"Rover Thomas is recognised as the indisputable master of Aboriginal art," Mr Dennison said.
"He creates extraordinarily powerful and sublime images. Lundari is a sophisticated work yet displays an elegant roughness."
Thomas, who was from the Kimberley region, died in 1998, aged in his 70s.
About 300 Aboriginal artefacts, sculptures and paintings will be auctioned tonight and are expected to fetch a total of between $4 million and $5 million.
Mr Dennison said in the past five years there had been giant leaps in the amount people paid for Aboriginal art.
"We've seen an increase of over 100 per cent in the last five years for works from some regions," he said
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