Important Australian + International Fine Art
28 August 2013


(1925 - 2006)

oil on canvas

106.0 x 91.0 cm

signed lower right: Coburn
dated and inscribed verso: PERFORMANCE / John Coburn / Sydney 1980 / oil

$20,000 - 30,000
Sold for $32,400 (inc. BP) in Auction 30 - 28 August 2013, Sydney

Harold and Connie Slater collection, Sydney, acquired directly from the artist in 1987
Thence by descent
Private collection, Sydney


Amadio, N., John Coburn: Paintings, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1988, pp. 104–105, 201 (illus. p.105)

Catalogue text

The following excerpt is taken from Nadine Amadio's book, John Coburn Paintings:

'Coburn is on stage or perhaps in the ring. He had not yet actually designed for the theatre but this joyous work, full of clownish smiles and juggling shapes, has the fun and glitter of the circus. It is appropriately named Performance. There is a real humour and playfulness in this work, somewhat reminiscent of Joan Miro in its feeling of nature at play. Although Coburn does not have the same fantasy element in his work he does have a similar control an inbuilt 'rightness' about the distribution and placement of forms. The blazing background, the blues, the scarlet on red, the yellow ball, are enjoyable games in themselves. Coburn has never been afraid of colour. He had displayed courage in his life's work on many levels but his fearlessness in the realms of colour is not only adventure but an innate ability to orchestrate his works in a way that brings an extraordinary vitality to his painting.'1

1. Amadio, N., John Coburn Paintings, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1988, p. 104