100 Years of Conversations

In this year our 100th (and I won’t deny our collective pride in writing this!) Leonard Joel is well prepared to celebrate with our clients, our industry and our friends and we look forward to a year of events and conversations with you to mark this important milestone.

And in this centenary issue it would be remiss of me to not first mark the passing of my first industry mentor and second employer and heart of Leonard Joel for more than half a century, Graham Joel, who passed away on the 19th of January. And as Ron Barassi might note, who I learnt in conversation with him is fascinated by numbers, the number “19” also reflects our establishment year 1919 and my own birthdate in September. For me there is something in that number.

This year also marks the complete activation, after 24 months, of our elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn policy – in simple terms we now no longer trade in any whole ivory, not even a netsuke. We are an industry world leader in this conservation effort and it is our hope that other auctioneers join us in our 100th year of operation. Our conversation with IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) that began over two years ago and inspired our policy will culminate in a centenary event with this important global conservation group and I look forward to sharing further details in the months to come. Leonard Joel, in so many ways represents really a century long four-way conversation between sellers, the auctioneer, the collector and our community and typically those conversations centre around a beautiful or interesting or historical “thing” and, as we are ultimately a market-maker, “price”. And to mark those conversations we are delighted to have engaged the respected Melbourne arts journalist and author-writer Ray Gill to, in his own distinctive way, write a non-linear history of Leonard Joel as it relates to collecting, design and the Australian condition. Ray has been deep in conversation about Leonard Joel and we anticipate launching the publication later this year in both Melbourne and Sydney and look forward to Ray’s unveiling of it.

As Melbourne’s oldest arts auctioneer and valuer, but one that also strives to innovate, we feel well versed in what both the established and new collector wants to see, touch and collect and to this end we will be presenting throughout the year guest speakers and related events that will cover the great traditions of collecting through to the more avant-garde categories of Design, Luxury and Contemporary Art. Arts Project Australia, that world-class entity that provides a serious studio/haven for artists with an intellectual disability to both showcase their work and advocate for their inclusion in contemporary art practice and dialogue is yet another community partner that we will be in conversation with this year as we present their contemporary art practice to you, our clients and friends.

And this will not just be a Melbourne affair! We already look forward to a conversation with our South Australian clients at The David Roche Foundation Museum. Director Martyn Cook and his Team have graciously opened the museum for a valuation and tour day in February where a select tour and roadshow will take place. Equally, our Sydney rooms in Woollahra are busily arranging events and guest speakers relevant to our NSW audience and more will be revealed in coming weeks!

As I write I note that we have 341 days or 8198 hours to celebrate with you our centenary. That’s a long time and so it is my goal that our events and conversations we plan throughout the year will provide you subject matter and settings engaging enough that you too will want to be part of our 100 years of conversations.

John Albrecht
Managing Director