Known as ‘Di-faced tenners’ (a play on ‘defaced tenners’), these fake banknotes made by Banksy are used by the Pest Control Office as an authentication tool to prevent confusion, fraud and misattribution.
The Pest Control Office affixes one half of the double-sided tenner to each certificate of authenticity accompanying a Banksy work and retains the other half in its database. The same sequence of numbers is written on each half of the banknote. If an account ever shows up with numbers that don’t match the database, the Pest Control Office knows it’s probably dealing with a fake.
Another of Mr. Mulholland’s frustrations is that it can take a long time to get certified by the Pest Control Service if the job doesn’t come with him. So when Girl with balloon came with full documentation, “it was just too valuable to let my frustration with Banksy’s people get in the way.”
Girl with balloonmeasuring 65.5cm x 50cm, number 71 in an edition of 150, it is now among 91 lots in Deutscher and Hackett’s Important Australian and International Fine Art auction to be held in Melbourne on 3 May. The auction house will be hoping for the popularity of another version of Girl with balloonwhich infamously fell apart after being auctioned in 2018 and later sold as Love is in the trash for US$25.4 million (S$37.2 million), will add competitive pressure when bidding begins.
The auction will sell artwork worth between $6.4 million and $8.6 million if the lower and upper estimates prove correct. Buyers must pay a buyer’s premium of 25 percent on hammer prices.
One piece that could break its estimate of $280,000 to $360,000 is The bathroom1996, by John Olsen, for whom tributes poured in after his death on April 11.
Dr Deborah Hart, Chief Curator of Australian Art at the National Gallery of Australia, once wrote this The bathroom was “one of Olsen’s most memorable works”. During the painting, Olsen spent a lot of time in the same bathroom when he lived in Rydal, near Bathurst, New South Wales. This was because he had just undergone major knee surgery. Olsen himself wrote in 1996: “The bathroom it might be my best since Where am I going?“. Damien Hackett called The bathroom “true slow release picture”.
“A painting this important can do double what we’ve said, whether the artist is alive or not,” Mr Hackett said.
Three other Olsens are on the D+H staff. Smith and Singer’s May 2 auction has two more Olsens. Together, the auctions will be a litmus test of the great artist’s posthumous market.
Making its auction debut with Deutscher and Hackett is that of Russell Drysdale Children are dancing1950, which carried the auction’s top estimate of $1.3 million to $1.6 million.
Ben Quilty’s painting of a gleaming Mercedes Benz haloed in aerosol yellow is sure to attract attention, like a flashy Parramatta Road car dealership sign. Titled I want I want I want2006, the 140 cm x 200 cm work is estimated at $120,000 to $160,000.
Evelyn Syme is better known for her graphics, but for her painting Bayside Still life with pineapple is a small piece of jewelry estimated at $15,000 to $20,000. In 2015, when it was titled Table setting with still life, the piece sold at auction for just $2,160. What a difference eight years can make.
“(The Syme) just fits the bill right now. It’s 1950, it’s in the sweet spot. And she is an amazing female modernist artist,” Mr Hackett said.
In the Deutscher and Hackett exhibition in Sydney (until Sunday 23 April, before being seen in Melbourne from 27 April to 2 May), the painting by tonal artist Max Meldrum Gometz-le-Chatel1927, hangs with Wattle in Sherbrookeabout 1923, by his recently much better-known student Clarice Beckett.
Meldrum is estimated at $4,000 to $6,000. The Beckett is estimated at $25,000 to $35,000 after it was sold at auction in 1990 for just $2,640.
The three Brett Whiteleys in the auction involve romance Harbor in the rain, 1977 ($400,000 to $600,000). A huge and apocalyptic oil painting by James Gleason, Blackout Time Images2003, is $30,000 to $40,000.
Bonhams Sydney’s April 23 auction of 76 works from the well-known Sydney collection of Fred and Eleanor Wroble offers mostly cheaper works than the Deutscher and Hackett sale. (Bonhams’ buyer’s premium is 23 percent.)
Fred Wrobel, a survivor of the horrific Nazi-era Jewish ghettos, died in 2015. Eleanor Wrobel died last month while helping organize the Bonhams auction.
Vrubel’s more highly regarded works include Etude° C. 1904, by Rupert Bunney ($40,000 to $60,000) and Self portrait1936, by Nora Heysen ($80,000 to $120,000).
Art historian Johanna Mendelsohn wrote in the catalog that Wrobels’ legacy “is to remind us that works of art are personal to both the artist and their viewer, and the connections between those who make art and those who appreciate beauty , can be as significant as the work of art itself”.
Other works to be auctioned by Deutscher and Hackett are below.