Art’s river of time turns in favour of Fullwood

Elizabeth Fortescue, Australian Financial Review, 22 February 2023

Deutscher and Hackett’s Modern and Contemporary sale in Melbourne on Wednesday February 15 scored a great result for John Olsen’s humorous watercolour Mice and Trap which sold for $30,000 ($36,818 including premium), double its high estimate of $15,000. The same work was sold for $7475 (including premium) in 1998, but went unsold when it came to auction in 2011.

A quirky, collaborative work by Garry Shead and the late Peter Kingston sold for $5500 ($6750 with premium) on an estimate of $1500 to $2000. The Phantom, 1981, is a wooden box with a glass front and a diorama-like interior showing the comic-book hero brandishing a smoking gun inside a fruit shop.

“We were both mad about The Phantom,” Shead said.

Director Damian Hackett admits he didn’t quite know what The Phantom was worth.

“We just thought it was the sort of cool, funky, interesting thing that we like to handle no matter what the value is, and see what other people think – and other people loved it too,” Hackett said.

A Banksy screen print, Gangsta Rat, 2004, failed to attract even one bid at Deutscher and Hackett. It was estimated at $40,000 to $60,000 and had been bought in Brighton, UK, by a private collector in Brisbane. Hackett said the work sold post auction “for about what we said (in the estimate)“.

“Internationally the Banksy market has cooled for the time being. I’m sure it’s not forever,” Hackett said.

A work on paper by Australian abstract artist Yvonne Audette, Untitled, 1962, sold for $4500 hammer ($5523 including premium) on an estimate of $2000 to $2500.

“Over the last three or four years, eyes have definitely turned towards Yvonne Audette,” Hackett said.

“She’s an amazing artist. She was one of the few Aussies who instead of looking to Europe, she went to New York for her grand tour and took on influences from the American language and has been a great proponent of abstraction in Australia.”