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Collecting first rate Australian art is just a mouse click away

Gina Fairley

A significant $5M Australian art collection – including works by Arthur Boyd, Margaret Olley and Charles Blackman – goes under the hammer online.
Collecting first rate Australian art is just a mouse click away

Detail, CHASES, Fred Cress - Limited Edition Multi Colour Lithograph; image supplied.

Lloyds Auctions presents Part Two of the Berkeley Editions Liquidation sale, offering over 170 completely unreserved limited edition artworks. The online auction, closing Tuesday 29 August, is the second in a series of auctions liquidating the entire catalogue of premier Fine Art publisher, Berkeley Editions.

The collection includes seldom available original printing plates, original paintings, handmade limited edition collagraphs, lithographs and etchings, each of which are numbered, titled and signed by the artist.

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Headlining the auction is an original Margaret Olley limited edition multi-colour collagraph, Marigolds and Fruits, with an original retail value of $8,000.

Other artists represented in the collection include Charles Blackman; Garry Shead; David Boyd; Ray Crooke; Arthur Boyd; Margaret Olley; Jason Benjamin; Salvatore Zofrea; David Larwill; Craig Ruddy; Criss Canning; Frank Hodgkinson; Colin Lanceley; Bob Marchant; Malcolm Jagamarra; Jasper Knight, and many more.

A reflection of Australian history containing limited edition and hand-signed pieces, all works are offered completely unreserved and come with a Certificate of Provenance, issued by the collection’s original owner, Robyn Berkeley.

Berkeley Editions has long been known and respected in the Australian art world for its support of Australian artists and printers. Owner, Robyn Berkeley is liquidating her stock and holdings after more than 40 years in the business to make room for a new art venture.

Bidding on the second group of artworks is now open to all members of the public.

View the Berkeley Editions catalogue.

‘Robyn is not retiring. She is simply freeing up capital and the space to take on some new projects across an expanded geographic footprint,’ explained Benson. ‘It is very exciting for her.

‘There have been a lot of liquidation sales in the last five years. I think it has to do with the changing nature of the art market – some of those older gallery models have lost their relevancy.’

The change is a win for art lovers, who have the opportunity to buy high-end art, without the high-end pretention.

Margaret Olley, Basket of Oranges Lemons and Jug; limited edition giclee on cotton rag paper 222/250; Lot 75. Provenance: Berkeley Editions Liquidation of Stock on Hand and Business Assets; image supplied.

A five million dollar collection

For any auction house, scoring the sale of a single-hold collection is an enormous coup. It guarantees the provenance of the art works, and in this case they are all primary market works. That is, they have come from individual relationships that Berkeley had with the artists, collecting their work directly.

‘This is the working stock on hand of a very established business,’ said Benson. ‘What is unique about this sale, is that whilst the buyer can get involved at a very low price, they will get a Certificate of Provenance from Robyn that verifies the work is from her collection. They are not only authentic, but come with the story of that relationship.’

Art works are expected to sell from $100 to $20,000, and all works are signed, dated and editioned. Benson said the auction is a remarkable opportunity to enter the market by purchasing a high-end work.

Scanning the Berkeley Editions catalogue reveals a roll-call of familiar and impressive art world names: Garry Shead, Ray Crooke, David Boyd, Fred Cress, Kerrie Lester, Jason Benjamin, Tim Storrier and many others who have long been favourites of the fine art and auction market.

Arthur Boyd, Shoalhaven Riverbride (1997); limited edition multi colour collagraph A/P; Lot 63. Provenance: Berkeley Editions Liquidation of Stock on Hand and Business Assets; image supplied.

‘Some of these works are by artists that have won major prizes like the Archibald. If a buyer has always wanted a work by Arthur Boyd, but has not had the confidence to buy at auction in the past, they can in this case and still have that sound provenance and guarantee,’ said Benson.

‘Robyn is a fastidious person in the way she looked after the artists she worked with and ensured a strong quality of work. That kind of iron-clad provenance and credibility doesn’t always happen with auctions.’

Better than the $2 shop

Every lot in the Berkeley Editions sale is starting at just one dollar.

‘Lloyds felt that by starting the bidding at one dollar it could maximise interest and maximise the outcome. The decision was also about the democracy of art buying. We like the idea that the people decide what a lot is worth, not some curator who decides what is important,’ Benson said.

‘All you need to do is register and have a go. It is very much like a live auction. Every lot is closed individually – a going, going, gone period of 15 seconds – with plenty of warning before the hammer falls. Really, it is just a lot of fun,’ Benson said.

Bidding on items in the Berkeley Editions Part Two is currently open to all members of the public, and will close on Tuesday, 29 August 2017.

Ray Crooke, Still Life; limited edition multi colour collagraph 1/70; Lot 4. Provenance: Berkeley Editions Liquidation of Stock on Hand and Business Assets; image supplied.

Buying art online is the future

Lloyds has built its reputation selling exclusively online. Their philosophy allows people who are interested in art – but not interested in art pretention – the opportunity to get involved, said Benson.

She believes that art sales are moving online. ‘Fourteen years ago when I started in the art industry, about 10% of art sales were carried out online. Today that figure is more like 50%. In other words, half the art market is online making art more accessible … and that is a good thing for artists as there is less of a barrier to entry into the art market.

‘This sale is going to show both vendors and buyers that Lloyds has a credible market of buyers to support high end works,’ Benson concluded.

The Berkeley Editions sale is currently open for bidding. The auction will close on Tuesday, 29 August 2017.

About the author

Gina Fairley covers the Visual Arts nationally for ArtsHub. Based in Sydney you can follow her on Twitter @ginafairley and Instagram at fairleygina.

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