A superb 1957 work from Arthur Boyd's "Bride" series has set a new world record at Sotheby's Important Australian & International Art sale, which was held in Melbourne on August 14.
The piece, entitled Bride Running Away, now stands as the most valuable painting from Arthur Boyd ever sold at auction, after bringing $1.7m against a pre-sale estimate of $1.4-1.6m - a 6.25% increase. The previous record was held by Frightened Bridegroom, which sold for $1.2m at Sotheby's Australia in August 2011.
Both Bride Running Away and Frightened Bridegroom originate from Boyd's best-known series of paintings, the Half Caste Bride, which was created throughout the 1950s and was based on his contact with the aboriginal culture in Alice Springs in 1951. Boyd was a member of the Antipodeans, a group of Melbourne-based painters who placed high importance on figurative art and shunned abstract expressionism.
One of the auction's most exciting sales came from an artist known only as "The Sydney Bird Painter", whose watercolour of a hook-billed shrike beat its $73,500 high estimate by 193.8% to achieve $216,000. Created circa 1792, the work was most likely acquired by a museum or institution, as the majority of works attributed to the mysterious artist are now housed in the National Gallery of Australia and the National Gallery of Victoria.
In total, the auction comprised just 66 lots and realised $6.2m including buyer's premiums, selling 98.5% by value and 68% by lot.
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