Smith & Singer

Award Winning Australian Landscapes

November 15, 2016

Significant award winning Australian landscape paintings have been brought together for sale by Sotheby’s Australia.  William Dobell’s Storm Approaching, Wangi 1948 (estimate $100,000-150,000, lot 3) and Sali Herman’s The Red House 1965 (estimate $50,000-70,000, lot 29) were both awarded the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ Wynne Prize for the best Australian landscape painting.  Also consigned is John Coburn’s Sacred Site 1989 (estimate $60,000-80,000, lot 25) which was an entrant to the 1989 Wynne Prize.

Geoffrey Smith, Chairman of Sotheby’s Australia commented:  ‘It is unique that two of Australia’s most significantly recognised and awarded landscape paintings of the twentieth century appear simultaneously for auction.  William Dobell’s Storm Approaching, Wangi is a work of exceptional quality and historical importance and appears for public sale for the first time.  In 1948 Dobell was awarded both the Archibald Prize for portraiture for Margaret Olley (1948, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney) and the Wynne Prize for the present work.  It was the first time an artist had been awarded both prizes in the same year and created a national sensation.  This followed Dobell’s infamous and bitter court case regarding his Portrait of Joshua Smith (1943, Private Collection), which was challenged as a caricature after it won in 1943.’

Although Dobell won the court case, he became withdrawn and reclusive and fled Sydney for the protective isolation of the family weekender at Wangi Wangi, on the foreshore of Lake Macquarie, where he gradually resumed painting.  When Dobell was announced the winner of both the 1948 Archibald and Wynne Prizes, crowds flocked to view the exhibition.  On the opening weekend approximately 14,000 visitors attended and in the first week almost 40,000 visitors made the pilgrimage.

Sali Herman is most known for his paintings that depict the urban rituals of the inner city streets of Sydney.  A large and impressive composition, The Red House 1965 perfectly captures the physical and spiritual aspects of this distinct urban landscape and became Herman’s third painting (from a total four) to be awarded the Wynne Prize.

SALI HERMAN 1898-1993, The Red House 1965.


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