Frederick McCubbin painting unveiled for the first time in 140 years

“It redefined a national art movement. These artists were pioneers … it’s painted in a very short period of European colonization from Melbourne, in the 1880s in Marvelous Melbourne, there is an extraordinary influx of buildings and architecture, it’s cosmopolitan, people come from all over the world, it’s multicultural.


“It is a period that has great relevance from a theoretical and curatorial point of view, but also from an emotional point of view.

In addition to being technically adept and innovative, McCubbin said the painting reflected what we have been through for the past two years: contemplation, introspection, and the imagination.

“We are more in tune with works of art that convey a sense of inner thinking and thinking because we ourselves have engaged in these pursuits,” he said.

Prices for works by Australian painters of McCubbin’s day have hit record highs in the past 12 months. McCubbin’s An old politician (1879), which was auctioned in 2019 via Sotheby’s now Smith & Singer, was listed between $ 100,000 and $ 150,000 and sold at auction for $ 585,600.

Tom roberts Oak and sun (1889) was auctioned in 2019 at 220,000-280,000, when the NGV bought it for just under $ 1 million. Arthur Streeton’s Venetian masterpiece, The Grand Canal, painted in 1908, sold for just over $ 3 million in April of that year. It had been estimated to sell for between $ 1.5 million and $ 2 million.

“Because there are so few works from this first decade of McCubbin’s career remaining in private hands, it is very difficult to make an accurate estimate as there are no recent comparable prices,” said Singer said. “The letter represents a rare and remarkable rediscovery of a major composition by one of the most beloved Australian artists of the golden age of Australian painting.

The auction will take place on November 16 at 6.30 p.m.

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