With so much art for sale, two auction houses were designated for the job.
Deutscher and Hackett will kick off the series, with approximately 90 highlights from the NAB collection, totaling more than $5 million, up for auction Feb. 22. The following night, Leonard Joel will auction another 150 important works with a total value of over $1 million. The remaining works will be sold by Leonard Joel throughout 2022.
NAB’s move illustrates an international trend as businesses, especially banks, sell off their art collections as their physical footprint – and wall space – shrinks, branches go online and staff move on. more time working from home. More and more, social initiatives are taking precedence over art. Matheson stressed that the sale of NAB was about “the impact we can have on the communities in which we operate”, rather than a sign that the bank’s office space – or the number of employees – could shrink. .
“While the appearance of our corporate workplaces has continuously evolved over the years, this year NAB launched two new commercial office buildings in Sydney and Melbourne, both of which took into account new methods of work, including more open spaces to favor the hybrid. ways of working as we live with COVID-19,” he said.
The NAB collection began with a specific purpose, to bring together Australian paintings and tapestries from the 1970s. Renowned Melbourne gallerist Georges Mora was engaged as a consultant. The main collection is a fascinating glimpse into a time when veteran artists such as Charles Blackman, Arthur Boyd, Sidney Nolan, John Perceval and Albert Tucker were still active, and a younger generation was rising behind them, including Howard Arkley, Peter Booth and Jenny Watson.
The National Gallery of Victoria devoted an exhibition to the NAB collection in 1982, titled The Seventies. So it’s only fitting that forty years later the collection is being auctioned off in Melbourne, giving people the chance to revisit what was considered the art of the time and rediscover names that may have lost their commercial recognition, such as Lesley Dumbrell, whose artistic Painting Op Chinook, from 1975, featured on the cover of the NGV exhibition catalogue. Several works by Dumbrell will be auctioned, including snakes and laddersfrom 1979, with an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000 at Leonard Joel’s Part II sale.
A tapestry based on snakes and ladders, woven by the Victorian Tapestry Workshop, will also be sold by Leonard Joel (estimate $12,000-$18,000) as will John Coburn’s sun of arabiaof 1976, woven by Pinton Manufacture de Tapisserie d’Aubusson, France (estimate $30,000-40,000).
A highlight of the Deutscher and Hackett sale is John Brack’s disturbing 1972 painting, Through the window (estimate $400,000 to $600,000). In the camp of Deutscher and Hackett are also those of John Olsen dark abyss1976, (estimate $150,000-200,000), Albert Tucker’s card players1968-73 (estimate $120,000-180,000), and Fred Williams’ forest pond1974, (estimate $300,000 to $400,000).
Some works that NAB can’t bear to part with, like Brett Whiteley’s oil on plywood from 1976 Still Life with Up Front Out Back and Cherries.
“We will hold a small number of pieces that have additional significance or hold a special place in the institution’s history as part of NAB’s heritage collection, which also includes two portraits of former bank executives who were winners of the Archibald Prize,” Matheson said.