When Leonard Joel was selected as the auctioneer to disperse the private collection of, arguably, Australia’s most popular artist it was not lost on me how special our selection was. I think in many ways Leonard Joel’s lack of pretension combined with its unparalleled history in Australia of single-owner dispersals /offerings makes us the perfect platform for this significant moment in Australian popular artistic culture. In July Pro Hart will join Sir Hans Heysen, E. Phillips Fox, E. Carrick Fox, Blamire Young and David Bromley as another artist that has found the need to engage Leonard Joel for our collection dispersal services and it is nothing short of a joy to be handling this “most Australian of artists”, to borrow Jeff Makin’s description from his 2011 publication Critical Moments.
A read of Makin’s short piece on Pro Hart becomes a succinct analysis, not only of the artist but also of how we Australians have always “interpreted” Hart’s work. Makin makes two very interesting and valid points. Firstly, that as the most popular Australian artist his representation in public galleries should be both expanded and better embraced and secondly that Hart was quite literally the ground breaker in providing a youthful Australian collecting community a non-confrontational and satisfying stepping-stone from which they could begin to understand art and ultimately the Australian art vernacular. If for no other reason Pro Hart’s accessibility (to borrow another Makin insight), via his knowing “naive-style” language, will endure as an important contribution to the 20th century Australian art movement. The artist that playfully and irreverently dabbled in sponsored advertisements (as did Andy Warhol) should be remembered for much more than just that. It is with great honour that Leonard Joel has been selected as the auctioneer of choice for this monumental single-owner auction.
Written by John Albrecht – Managing Director
Makin, J., CRITICAL MOMENTS – Essays and Reviews on Art in Australia, Macmillan Art Publishing, 2011,
Read Richard Brewster’s Australian Auction Review article of the Pro Hart Auction here
Pro Hart (1928 – 2006)
Works from the Artist’s Estate, Broken Hill
Tuesday 22nd July at 6:30pm
Wednesday, 16 July 9am-8pm
Thursday, 17 July 10am-4pm
Friday, 18 July 10am-4pm
Saturday, 19 July 10am-5pm
Sunday, 20 July 10am-5pm
333 Malvern Road South Yarra VIC 3141