Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Scoop Homes and Art Winter 2012 Contents 202 HOMES & ART WINTER 2012
Paul Swain, owner
and director of
GREENHILL TURNS 40
Greenhill Galleries in Clare mont is celebrating 40 years in the
business. We ask owne r and director Paul Swain, w hose mother
opened the original Adelaide premises, for his take on industry
trends and the future of fine art galleries.
Tell us about a career highlight. The one that stands out was convincing
Brett Whiteley to show with Green hill when we were in H owa rd Street. His
series Van Gogh self portraits took four days to set up, working closely with
Brett. It was at the high poi nt of his career, an d the exhibitio n attrac ted most
TV station s, alo n g with print media, from across Au stralia.
Have you observed any major art trends? In the late 80s and early 90s,
buyers were fo cu sed more o n established a rtists su ch as the colo nials
(Streeton and McCubbin), along with Boyd and Blackman and so on.
I felt they wan ted reassu ra nce about a rtists in the fo rm of good reviews,
inclusion in public collections and a strong past-price histor y. Now
buyers seem to take more chances on eme rging ar tists – especially with
the in creased n atio n al interest in fa mo us prizes such as the A rchibald.
This showcases an a mazing a rray of a rt from relatively u n kn own eme rging
artists thro u gh to extremely established ar tists, all of who m have the same
chance of winning.
What should people invest in at the mome nt? I feel people should invest
in their co n tempora ries. People who invested in artists like Jeffrey Smar t
an d Arthu r B oyd many years ago have reaped the rewa rds today, with their
wo rks in creasing mo re than ten -fold. There are a n umber of u ndiscovered
‘Boyds’ and ‘Smarts’, so to speak, out there now. They are relatively inexpensive
today, but have the potential to take off down the track.
Do you have any advice for aspiri ng collectors? Buy what you like, n ot
what you think might go up in value down the track. If you like the work
you are buying, you can still enjoy looking at it on your wall even if it doesn’t
rocket in val ue. A lso, talk to reputable galler y directors w ho can offer advice
on artists they feel are a go od bet.
Where do you see the future of fine art galleries? Man y galleries a re
selling works online, and I feel it will go more that way. Overheads for
galleries are quite high, an d many are closing down du e to the depressed
ma rket we are experien ci ng. People seem to be more time-strapped these
days, making it ha rd to call in to galleries. A good website will take the galler y
into their living room or office, an d from there people can work o ut if they
want to go in for a further look.
Ex-Sotheby’s auctionee r, Australian art specialist and expert on developing new
markets Benjami n Clark discusses the state of play in the Asia-Pacific art are na
Settler’s Camp (1888) Arthu r Streeto n ,
oil on canvas, 86.5 x 112.5. Image
courtesy Deutscher and Hackett.
In creasingly, co mmercial galle ries
are trading in their ren tal leases
fo r so phisticated websites and
Galleries without fixed overheads
have greater resou rces to i nvest in
the pro motio n of their ar tists, and
flexibility to hold one-off exhibitio ns
an d par ticipate i n the pan oply of
global ar t fairs.
Western Au stralia is n ow
beco ming a destin atio n for leading
galleries who are i nclined to tou r a
show rather than bei ng tied to a fi xed
Melbou rn e or Sydn ey address.
“I maintained a space in
Melbou rn e fo r six years,” says
Tristian Koen ig, formal prin cipal of
respected Melbourn e co ntempo rar y
art gallery Neon Parc. “In an effort
to best promote my a rtists locally
and internationally, I can’t be tied to
a physical white cube. I’ve showed
my ar tists in Tok yo, Singapore, Los
Angeles and Hong Kong in the last
six months. I see Perth as a natural
destin atio n, give n the co nce ntration
of wealth an d the appetite of
Western Au stralian s for quality,
contemporar y Australian A rt.”
Impor tant examples of Australian
Impressio n ism were the highlights of
the May art auctio n series. S otheby’s
Australia, B on hams, an d Deutscher
an d Hackett all achieved better-
than- expected resu lts for traditio n al
paintings. Of these, Arthur
Streeton’s Settler’s Camp achieved
$2.52m including buyers premiu m
– a record for the artist at auction.
Settler’s Camp is a go od example
of what determines the valu e of an
ar twork at au ctio n: sca rcity, no toriety
of artist, the co ntext of a work in an
ar tist ’s oeuvre, and provenance.
The p rove na nce of Settler’s Camp
can be accurately traced since being
painted in 1888. Prior to sale via
auction in 1985, it belonged to one
NSW family for nearly a century.
Robert Holmes à Court was the
successful bidder, and paid $800,000.
The Holmes à Courts then lent the
work to the Art Gallery of Western
Australia before releasing it to an
American collector. Paintings that
have belonged to distinguished
collectors and had the prestige of
public exhibition will always command
a good price at auction.
“I see Perth as a natural destination,
given the concentration of wealth and
the appetite of Western Australians for
quality, contemporary Australian Art”
Links Archive SHAA 32 SHAA 34 Spring 2012 Navigation Previous Page Next Page