Smith & Singer

In The News

Pierre Soulages

25 July 2020

The Spectator  |  Donald McDonald

A French painting purchased in Melbourne in 1953 has been repatriated selling for $5.26m earlier this month in Paris. For 67 years the painting had hung in a private house in Melbourne until it was ‘rediscovered’ by Smith & Singer who returned it to France on behalf of an Australian client, the son of the original purchaser.

The Art Newspaper  |  Elizabeth Fortescue

When Claude Bonin-Pissarro accompanied an exhibition of 119 Modern French paintings from France to Australia in 1953, he told an Australian newspaper that he was very satisfied with security arrangements surrounding the pictures. No one had tried to steal or destroy the works by Picasso, Matisse, Derain, Léger and others, Bonin-Pissarro said...

Smith and Singer repatriated the painting to France and on Friday 10 July, Christie’s Paris sold it for a hammer price of €3.2m “following fierce bidding from representatives in Hong Kong, London, New York and Paris”.

The Age  |  Nick Miller

An oil painting by one of Australia's most celebrated artists, John Brack, of his laughing, pigtailed four-year-old daughter Charlotte has smashed expectations at auction, costing its new owner nearly $1 million to take home.

Laughing Child, painted in 1958, sold to a telephone bidder on Wednesday for a hammer price of $750,000 ($915,000 after the auction house premium). Pre-auction estimates were around half the amount.

The Sydney Morning Herald  |  Nick Miller

An oil painting by one of Australia's most celebrated artists, John Brack, of his laughing, pigtailed four-year-old daughter Charlotte has smashed expectations at auction, costing its new owner nearly $1 million to take home.

Laughing Child, painted in 1958, sold to a telephone bidder on Wednesday for a hammer price of $750,000 ($915,000 after the auction house premium). Pre-auction estimates were around half the amount.

The Spectator  |  Donald McDonald

In a futile attempt at participating in the current cultural revolution, I tried to suffer ‘harm and offence’ from an art catalogue. But it seems I’m no good at this revolutionary business because I only derived pleasure from the catalogue of Important Australian & International Art of works to be auctioned by Smith & Singer (formerly Sotheby’s Australia) on 24 June.

Financial Review  |  Gabriella Coslovich

Next week brings a small but significant milestone to the art market with the return to live in-room auctions.

Smith & Singer are the first in line with their Important Australian and International Art auction in Sydney next Wednesday night. It is not only the highest value sale so far this year, with a total estimate of $5.9 million to $8.3 million, but also an auction that will see two major works by prominent Australian artists offered on the secondary market for the first time.

The Sydney Morning Herald  |  Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios

We've all looked at an old family photo, wondered at our former selves through a dated frame. But what if the image was painted by one of Australia's most celebrated artists, John Brack, whose angular, moody portrayals of mid-20th century Australia delivered penetrating insights into our culture and urban life?

This week Charlotte Brack saw, for the first time, a portrait that her father painted of her in 1958, when she was just four. It was unveiled for her at auction house Smith & Singer where it is about to go to auction (at a published estimate of around half a million dollars).

Financial Review  |  Gabriella Coslovich

The sums that art buyers are willing to spend online have crept up, reflecting a pragmatic shift that has occurred across the economy during the pandemic.

Only a month ago Saleroom reported that the comfort threshold for online bidding hovered around $50,000, with a couple of notable exceptions five and six years ago. But in the space of two weeks we’ve seen an internet bidder pay $190,000 (hammer) for the 20.246 carat “Wakil Emerald” at Smith & Singer’s online jewels auction, and another collector rise to a $100,000 internet bid for Del Kathryn Barton’s portrait of Hugo Weaving at Deutscher and Hackett’s inaugural solo online auction last week. 

The Australian  |  Ashleigh Wilson

Geoffrey Smith makes it his business to know the minds of collect­ors. And while the pandemic has been a strange time for all, those lucky enough to be surrounded by art have found themselves developing a renewed appreciation for their collection during lockdown.

“They’re spending more time at home, looking at what’s hanging on the wall,” said Smith, chairma­n of fine art auction house Smith & Singer. “Never has there been a time when art has been more important than now.”

As galleries start to open their doors around the nation, auction houses are preparing to welcome buyers back into their showrooms after a long period of absence.

Nine News  |  Mike Dalton

Among the kaleidoscope of businesses that were forced to close when coronavirus seeped into our lives were the nation's auctioneers of fine art and objects. However, as the curve flattened and thanks to online bidding, auction houses are beginning to let the hammer drop again and tonight sees one of the country's biggest gemstones go under the gavel.
Known as The Wakil Emerald, it is 20-plus carats of pear-shaped, step-cut, claw-set and diamond-rimmed stone, named after its original owner, Sydney property developer couple Isaac and Susan Wakil.

Financial Review  |  Gabriella Coslovich

When is an art auction not an art auction? It’s worth asking at a time when auction houses are experimenting with new sales models that blur the line between private and public, and that increasingly encroach on the turf of art dealers. Traditionally, auctions have been public events – the auctioneer’s hammer falls and the winning bid is known. But the pandemic has been a catalyst for change, and some auctions are now more akin to secret sales.

Time + Tide  |  Nick Kenyon

Smith & Singer (formerly Sotheby’s Australia) are hosting their first watch and jewellery auction of the year this week, featuring a smattering of interesting watches, with a few standout pieces. While the current circumstances mean a crowded room focused on a rostrum is impossible, the auction will be held virtually, with bidding allowed via telephone and online to enable the sale to go forward. While watches only make up a portion of the Jewels Department of Smith & Singer, there are always some interesting lots on offer, including a Heuer Autavia “Jo Siffert” and an Omega Speedmaster Apollo XI 1969 ref. 145022 69 in the last 12 months. This sale is no exception, with a few lots in particular that aren’t things you might see every day, and is due to take place on May 27 at 6.30pm.

A Shared Vision

11 April 2020

Wish Magazine, The Australian  |  David Meagher 

Earlier this year, on a hot and steamy Sydney day, cosseted within the cool, hushed walls of the country’s newest fine art auction house in the well-heeled suburb of Woollahra were 25 exceptional works by the Australian artist Brett Whiteley. The paintings and sculptures had been gathered from various private collectors and many had not been on public display since they were acquired from the artist decades ago. It was one of the greatest assemblages of significant paintings by Whiteley to ever hit the market – prices for these works would be destined to break records for the artist. But there was a catch: there was no planned auction; the works are not actually for sale. That was never the intention of this particular auction house’s Whiteley exhibition. 

The Guardian  |  Staff Writer

Carol Jerrems was a Melbourne-based photographer who died in 1980, at just 30 years old. Last November her work rocked the art world when a print of Vale Street (1975) sold for $122,000 ($1,00,000 hammer price) at a Sotheby’s Australia (now operating as Smith & Singer) auction. In her short and intense career she focused on figurative compositions that were intensely personal and informative of a life lived in Melbourne in the 70s.

Sydney Morning Herald  |  Nick Miller

Take a stab at what would be the most valuable Australian photograph ever sold. A Bill Henson? Max Dupain’s Sunbaker? As of November last year it is Vale Street, by Melburnian Carol Jerrems, taken in St Kilda in 1975. A print sold for $122,000 ($100,000 hammer price) at a Sotheby’s Australia auction – more than 10 times the previous record for the artist, and more than double the pre-auction estimate of $30,000–50,000.

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