In an art market fixated with new mediums, challenging subject matter and spectacular scale it was always going to have to be a very special traditional painting to captivate the Leonard Joel fine art audience on Tuesday evening. Just 29cm in height and 45cm in length, the 1869 oil painting on board by Australia’s preeminent colonial painter Eugene von Guerard did just that.
Acquired close to the year of its creation, the View of Mt Sturgeon and Mt Abrupt from the Crater of Bald Hill in Victoria, had remained in family hands for exactly 145 years until its unearthing by Sophie Ullin, Head of Art at Leonard Joel and Guy Cairnduff our Head Valuer. Meticulously researched it was discovered that the painting had never been exhibited, never been documented and never been on public view – this level of mystery only added to the painting’s desirability and assured its pre-auction status as a “must have” amongst serious collectors. The subject was classic Guerard in both its detail and its composition; a grand sweeping view taking in Mt Sturgeon and Mt Abrupt complimented by a delicate and lifelike rendering of the property’s crater lake complete with wonderfully detailed sheep herded by a farmer. No less than ten collectors bid for the painting and carried the final price to $329,400 (IBP) to almost triple the paintings low estimate.
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