If you think it’s tough to make it in the art market in the U.S. or Europe, well… you’d be right. But it can be even harder to break onto the world stage when you live in Australia.
Sure, there are less people so there’s less competition within your immediate peer group. But, with less competition comes less of a community and often less opportunity to expose your work to the right people who can propel you career to the next level.
Still, there are some Aussie artists who have succeeded in making a name for themselves despite these challenges of poor population density, lack of opportunities, and their remote location way down under.
Here, with a few blurbs interspersed throughout, we’re exploring the top Australian art sold between 2011 and 2013.
Top Australian Art Sold in 2013
Done in the artist’s signature ultramarine blue, My Armchair seems to mirror the personality of Whiteley’s inner artistic character. It’s calm, blissful, and makes the viewer feel a sense of ease. It refers to a statement by Henri Matisse and how an armchair could provide relaxation in the art of balance.
Williams is known for his abstract landscapes using square-shaped dots to portray what he sees around him. This interesting interpretation has been seen time and time again in his work and many of them have very high price tags.
Brack rose to fame in the mid-20th century and his work features the everyday life of post-war suburbia. This portrait of what seems to be a husband and wife in their “new house” is done in his unique angular style and is meant to highlight the mundane day-to-day lives of the middle class in the 1950s.
Here’s another from Brack where he’s noting the humdrum of suburban life using sharp angles and shadows.
Streeton is one of the original Aussie painters who earned a spot in the art world. He typically painted landscapes like the one seen here. In a blend between realism and impressionism, he was likely taking cues from what was popular in Europe in the late 19th century but focused on gorgeous Australian areas.
Another of Brack’s satirical interpretations of the Australian post-war middle class, his iconic portraiture features hard, angular lines and bits of Aussie culture that only a local would understand.
Here, Boyd seems to be taking cues from some of the early greats like Rubens and other romantic era masters. Huge crowds of people going through emotional turmoil and with religious undertones, it’s an interesting interpretation.
Top Australian Art Sold in 2012
Boyd had a series of bride-centric paintings that often showed the bride and groom experiencing some sort of turmoil. Painted with rough brushstrokes, these paintings ooze horror and an almost magical vibe. They feature an Aboriginal character and are meant to evoke compassion, tolerance, and reconciliation. It was one of Boyd’s most famous series.
Unlike his bride pieces, this landscape seems totally different for Boyd and has a naturalism feel. Most people know the coastal cities of Australia like Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth. However, most of the country is covered in desert and bush and the interior is largely unpopulated due to the intense weather conditions. Alice Springs is one of these places that is spiritually powerful and truly indicative of the Aussie outback.
If you noticed as you were checking out these pieces that there’s a lack of diversity in the Australian art world, you’d be correct. It should be noted that, of course, white men continue to dominate the art scene in all countries, but particularly in Australia, there haven’t been many prolific artists who sell their work for millions who art either women or non-white.
For the most part, this is due to Australia’s low population density and the overall youth of the country as a modern participant in the world culture. Humans have been on the Australian continent since the very beginning of homo sapiens, but they still have some catching up to do in terms of Western art.
Hopefully, with some population growth, more diverse Aussies will get their chance to make their mark on the art scene.