Aussies Led the Auction Pack in August

Jeffrey Smart, Self portrait at Papini's (1984)

Australia led the pack of the top 10 most expensive works of fine art sold at auction in August, according to the artnet Price Database.

Jeffrey Smart, an Adelaide-born painter who died last year in Italy at age 91, took second and third place of the top 10.

In the final week of summer’s official third month, Deutscher and Hackett, with offices in Melbourne and Sydney, sold Smart’s Self portrait at Papini’s (1984–85), an oil and synthetic polymer paint on canvas painting, for 1,260,000 AUD ($1,176,141), including the buyer’s premium. (Papini was the owner of a gas station in the Tuscan village of Pieve a Presciano.) And that same week, Sotheby’s Australia sold the artist’s 2003 oil on canvas painting The Red Warehouse in an auction in Sydney. The work sold for 878,400 AUD ($818,639), more than double its $400,000 low estimate.

As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, “Smart trained at the South Australian School of Art between 1937 and 1941 and later at the Academe Montmartre with painter Fernand Léger in Paris in 1949” and “was the art critic for The Daily Telegraph in Sydney from 1952 to 1954 and was awarded the Commonwealth Jubilee Art Prize in 1951. He was the drawing teacher at the National Art School, Sydney from 1962 to 1963, before relocating to Italy in 1964.”

Smart’s oil on canvas Radial Road punctuated the top 10 list, taking 10th place for its sale at Sotheby’s Australia, for 610,000 AUD ($568,499).

artnet’s top 10 works of fine art sold at auction in August 2014 totaled over $8.1 million.

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