The Luczo family’s collection of Aboriginal art began with the purchase of a Betsy Lewis Napangardi canvas in 2006 (lot 89). This first acquisition, and the many that have followed, were made in profound appreciation of the over 50,000 years of art-making by Indigenous Australian peoples.That this continuity with the ancestral past is manifested in art that is alive, full of energy and absolutely contemporary, remains for Stephen and Agatha Luczo nothing short of breathtaking. With great care they have assembled a collection of nearly 200 paintings and sculptures, including seminal works from the twentieth century by Rover Thomas, Kaapa Tjampitjinpa, and Enraeld Djulabinyanna, as well as major canvases of the twenty-first by Naata Nungurrayi, Makinti Napanangka, and George Tjungurrayi.

Art, history, science, music, and dance are earnest passions for Steve, CEO of Seagate Technology, and Agatha, a model and author. In raising their four children – Rosalia, George Thomas, Cosimo, and Anica – they are teaching the next generation that the preservation of culture and nature are complementary and indivisible efforts. The family’s Aboriginal collection embodies their interest in the interconnectedness of the land and those who inhabit it. As a member of the Board of Directors of the World Wildlife Fund, Steve is committed to matters of conservation and sustainability.

In building their collection, the Luczo family has been guided by intuition and scholarship in equal measure. The discerning eye and curatorial judgment of Aboriginal art specialist Julie Harvey has been essential to developing a meaningful collection of work from communities throughout Australia. Steve and Agatha have endeavoured to reflect in the collection the diversity of Indigenous Australian cultures, and the extraordinary work done by both men and women, from senior law figures to the emerging generation of artists. They have been captivated in turn by the expressive colors of Jan Billycan and Daniel Walbidi, and the delicate patterning of Yukultji Napangati and Dorothy Robinson Napangardi.

The family extends their deep gratitude to the artists for sharing their inspiration and innovation with the world. The Luczos’ primary source for artwork has always been wholly Indigenous-owned art centres and their exclusive representatives; these purchases are supplemented from time to time with significant acquisitions at auction, when works of historic import and remarkable provenance come to their attention. They offer warm thanks to the field workers and staff of the art centres who have shared their time and insight over the years, especially to Paul Sweeney at Papunya Tula Artists for helping to build a core part of the collection.

The works in this collection have been lived with and loved. From the spirited color harmonies of a Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri canvas over Cosimo’s crib, to the shimmering sand hills of Lily Kelly Napangardi that greeted staff and visitors to Seagate’s US corporate headquarters in California, the family has aimed to keep the majority of the collection on display. They admire the way in which the great canvases of the Western Desert pulse and move when given the space, the way they can energize or soothe. At home, Steve and Agatha have been touched to discover how deeply Aboriginal painting has enriched the kids’ concepts of representation: their classmates might draw the sun as a big yellow circle and a house as a square with a triangle on top, but the Luczo children are more likely to create their world in vibrant dots and lines.

In addition to their devoted engagement with the Indigenous art and culture of Australia over the last decade, the family continues to collect in ways no less deep for its eclecticism: European modernism, Contemporary American art, Ancient Roman coins, African sculpture, first editions of literature and science, and remarkable geological specimens are acquired with the same level of care and joy. Such enthusiastic collectors reach the inevitable point of needing to prune, as the Luczo family is now through a series of gifts and sales. Like all great collectors they know they are but custodians, helping to honor and preserve.


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This prestigious collection of Aboriginal art was acquired by Stephen and Agatha Luczo over the course of a decade, and showcases some of the finest examples of contemporary Aboriginal art from the desert regions of Australia, alongside important carvings from Arnhem Land and the Tiwi Islands.

Stephen is Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Seagate Technology, a data storage solutions company and one of the world’s largest producers of computer hard drives. He has served on the Board of Directors for Microsoft Corporation, the Advisory Boards of the New York Stock Exchange and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Stephen was honoured with the knighthoods Darjah Setia Pangkuan Negeri (The Order of the Defender of State – Knight Commander Malaysia) in 2013, and Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia (Knight of The Order of the Star of Italy) in 2015.

A model and former dancer, Agatha is the author of the children’s book Carla and Leo’s World of Dance (Thames and Hudson, 2011). She has supported the Silicon Valley Ballet and Dancing Classrooms, a notfor-profit school that teaches ballroom dancing to children. Together, Stephen and Agatha’s charity initiatives are primarily focused on global environmental issues and programs to help at risk children in the urban centres of the United States and rural areas of Sicily.

Fundamental to their acquisition strategy over the years, has been the Luczo family’s strong affinity with the story, culture and country expressed in the dynamic, colourful compositions of Australian Aboriginal artists. With guidance from their curator, Julie Harvey (Harvey Art Projects) and insight from Art Centre coordinators, they have thus assembled a meaningful collection of art from Aboriginal communities throughout Australia. Accordingly, acquisitions also derive from a variety of sources including exhibitions held in the United States, directly from remote Art Centres, and the auction market.

Comprising 97 works, Aboriginal Art from the Luczo Family Collection features major works from Central Australia, including early Papunya boards painted between 1971 and 1972 that encapsulate, together with major contemporary desert paintings, some of the most iconic examples of the Papunya Tula movement ever to come to the market. Other highlights include important early paintings by Kimberley artists, Rover Thomas and George Mung Mung as well fine examples by Yulparitja artists Daniel Walbidi and Jan Billycan from Bidiyadanga. The Luczo Collection is also noteworthy for its strong focus upon Aboriginal carving from the 1950s and 60s, with exceptional examples of Tiwi sculpture from Bathurst and Melville Islands, alongside important carvings from Central Arnhem Land artists.

The sale of the Aboriginal Art from the Luczo Family Collection again highlights Deutscher and Hackett’s uncompromising commitment to offering outstanding Indigenous works of art with impeccable provenance at auction. With attractive estimates and prices ranging across several levels, the auction offers the unique opportunity to acquire some of the very best examples of painting and sculpture by Australia’s leading Indigenous artists.



The community of Bidyadanga, formerly known as the Pallotine Catholic Mission of La Grange, some 250 kilometers south of Broome on the coast of Western Australia, is where desert cultures meet the sea, where salt water people meet the freshwater. Bidyadanga is the home of the Karajarri people who are renowned for the distinctive and intricate lockand- key designs etched into shields and other wooden objects. They are also known for a rare type of sculpture in Aboriginal art - a series of stone heads made by Big John Dodo (1910-2003) and other Karajarri artists in the 1980s.

In the decade from the mid-1960s, the Karajarri welcomed an influx of inland peoples, including the Mangala, Yulparitja, Martu and related groups who had travelled hundreds of kilometers from an area of the Great Sandy and Gibson Deserts that stretched to Kunawarritji or Well 33 on the Canning Stock Route. Previously, the traditional lives of these inland groups had suffered several depredations – from the presence of European industry such as mining that destroyed once reliable sources of freshwater, to severe droughts. Indeed, it was following a series of devastating droughts that the Yulparitja and their neighbours were ultimately forced off their ancestral lands. Among those who went to La Grange during this period were the Jan Billycan, Alma Webou, Weaver Jack and Nabiru Harry Bullen, all of whom were to emerge as artists in the public domain some thirty years later.

The unlikely catalyst for the contemporary Bidyadanga art movement was a sixteen year old aspiring Mangala/Yulparitja artist called Daniel Walbidi. Educated in the Western European art tradition as well as the art of his people, in 1999 Walbidi showed a series of his paintings to Emily Rohr, director of the Short Street Gallery in Broome, with the hope that she would exhibit them. Significantly, the Gallery was keen to take on not only Walbidi, but also the senior artists at Bidyadanga who were mainly Yulparitja. Walbidi perceived that the making of art – and painting in particular – would serve as powerful means by which the Yulparitja elders could maintain and pass on their cultural knowledge to the younger generation. Furthermore, painting allowed these artists to reconnect directly with their customary lands and pay homage to their ancestors in much the same way that the artists at Papunya had done at the very nascence of the Aboriginal desert painting movement in the early 1970s – at the exact time of the Yulparitja’s exodus from their desert homes. In essence, Short Street Gallery assumed the role of the art centre for the Bidyadanga community, promoting its artists and exhibiting their work widely throughout Australia and abroad. Accordingly artists such as Walbidi, Jan Billycan and Weaver Jack have now become household names in the Australian art world.