Whiteley Masterpiece To Smash Australian Art Record

A longstanding sale record is set to fall this week.

By Terry Christodoulou 23/11/2020

A Brett Whiteley masterpiece is set to break an Australian art record this week when it goes under the hammer in Sydney.

Presented by Menzies Art Brands, Henri’s Armchair (1974-75) – from the Whiteley’s Lavender Bay series – displays the artist’s studio home over Sydney Harbour across an impressive 195cm by 302cm canvas.

Menzies Art Brands has attached a $5-$7 million price estimate to the masterpiece, which, if the upper end is achieved, will make it the highest value Australian artwork to sell at auction.

Brett Whiteley
Brett Whiteley – Henri’s Armchair 1974-75, oil, ink and charcoal on canvas, 195.0 x 302.0 cm

“The scale, subject matter, provenance, exhibition history, literary referencing and ‘freshness to market’ of Henri’s Armchair are all factors that make it one of the most valuable Australian paintings to ever be offered for sale on the secondary market,” says Justin Turner, Menzies Art Brands’ head of art.

The previous record currently sits at $5.4 million, achieved by a Sidney Nolan painting a decade ago that is now part of the permanent collection at the Art Gallery of NSW.

Whiteley is one of Australia’s most celebrated artists – a dual Archibald Prize winner he remains the only Australian artist to have won the Archibald, Sulman and Wynne prizes in the same year.

The prized artwork will go under the hammer Thursday 7 pm AEST, November 26 at Menzies’ Sydney gallery as a single lot.

Menziesartbrands.com

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