Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula (circa 1925-2001) Untitled (Water Dreaming at Kalipinypa)
Lot 20
Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula (circa 1925-2001) Untitled (Water Dreaming at Kalipinypa)
Sold for AU$ 42,000 (US$ 39,259) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula (circa 1925-2001)
Untitled (Water Dreaming at Kalipinypa)
bears artist's name, Stuart Art Centre 'Con1 no.9' and Art Promotion Papunya Incorporated label on the reverse
enamel on composition board
59 x 28cm (23 1/4 x 11in).


    Painted in 1971
    Painting number 9 in consignment 1 to the Stuart Art Centre, Alice Springs
    Private collection
    Sotheby's, Aboriginal Art, Melbourne, 17 June 1996, lot 7
    Private collection
    Corptrak, Melbourne
    Private collection

    Geoffrey Bardon, and James Bardon, Papunya, A Place Made After the Story: The Beginnings of the Western Desert Painting Movement, Melbourne: The Miegunyah Press, 2004, p.162, painting 68 and annotated drawing by Geoffrey Bardon.

    This painting is one of the very first by an artist who was to become one of the doyens of the early Papunya painting movement. The historical significance of this picture is measured by the fact that it was in the very first group of portable paintings that were created at Papunya in mid-1971 and that it formed part of the very first consignment of paintings that were taken in July 1971 by Geoffrey Bardon, the local school teacher, to the Stuart Art Centre in Alice Springs where the paintings were offered for sale to the public. After such modest beginnings, the following decades were to reveal this to be the genesis of one of the great movements in Australian art history.

    The materials in which this work was painted – enamel paint on chipboard usually used as building materials rather than for art – also reflect the realities of making art for public consumption at Papunya during those times. Papunya was a government settlement established to resettle the Aboriginal groups of the western deserts. For many people interaction with Europeans was a novelty. Distanced from their traditional lands and modes of living, a cultural void developed at Papunya which was partly alleviated when in 1971 a number of senior men began to paint the first portable pictures of their ancestral lands. In effect, the act of painting their country fulfilled their traditional duty to care for it: the paintings were a physical manifestation of their connection to country.

    The subject of Warangkula's painting is one he was to revisit on several occasions. The painting depicts the site of a major Water Dreaming of which Warangkula was a main custodian. The work is executed in the conventional desert iconography of concentric circles and lines indicating travel or movement across the landscape. The areas of white dotting in this work pre-empt a technique Warangkula was to develop in his later pictures of Kalipinypa, where he applied layers of dotting and stippling to create fields of intense visual resonance.

    This painting was originally owned by Pat Hogan's assistant at the Stuart Art Centre until it was sold at auction in 1996.

    Wally Caruana

    This painting is sold with accompanying descriptive notes on the iconography and story by Geoffrey Bardon.
  1. Francesca Cavazzini
    Specialist - Aboriginal Art
    76 Paddington Street
    Sydney, 2021
    Work +61 2 8412 2225
    FaxFax: +61 2 9475 4110
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