Rover Thomas (1926-1998) Booralbun
Lot 49
Rover Thomas (circa 1926-1998) Booralbun
Sold for AU$ 81,600 (US$ 75,736) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
Rover Thomas (circa 1926-1998)
natural earth pigments and natural binder (bush gum) on plywood
60 x 90cm (23 5/8 x 35 7/16in).


    Painted at Warmun (Turkey Creek) in 1986
    Mary Macha, Perth
    The Holmes à Court Collection, Heytesbury,
    Sotheby's, Important Aboriginal Art, Melbourne, Monday 28 June 1999, lot 33
    Private collection

    Klaus Rinke recent drawings Rhine.Ruhr.Loire.Danube.Pacific Connection.Re-Australia, at RMIT Gallery, 11 July-23 August 2008, Cat. No.10.

    Sotheby's Preview, July, 1999, pp.42-43, p.43 (illus.).
    S. Davies, (ed.), Klaus Rinke recent drawings: Rhine-Ruhr-Loire-Danube-Pacific Connection-re-Australia, Melbourne: RMIT, 2008, p.4, (illus.).

    Cf. Stylistically, the painting relates to Ngamarrin (The Snake near Turkey Creek), 1984, in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia, in Rover Thomas with Kim Akerman, Mary Macha, Will Christensen and Wally Caruana, Roads Cross: The paintings of Rover Thomas, Canberra: National Gallery of Australia, 1994, p.28, and to Untitled, c.1987, in the Janet Holmes à Court Collection illustrated in Belinda Carrigan, Rover Thomas: I want to paint, Holmes à Court Gallery, Perth, 2003, cat. no.15.

    According to the artist, Booralbun is the name of a Kangaroo Dreaming of the Walmajarri and Djaru peoples at a site located on Ruby Plains Station south of Halls Creek in the eastern Kimberley. It is a ceremonial or law site that is represented by the irregular oval shape in the upper section of the painting. In ancestral times the Red Kangaroo hid in a cave at this place. The two rounded forms in the lower section of the painting represent freshwater sites, one of which is inaccessible to humans, set amongst the rolling hills of the region.

    The painting features Thomas' characteristic use of heavily resinous and gritty paint that contrasts with the wash of the ground colour. The forms are defined by lines of white dots which also frame the picture plane. Typically, Thomas' composition does not imitate the geographic location or the topography of the landscape, rather it expresses a relationship between the various places in physical and ancestral terms, while conveying a strong feeling for the undulating nature of the terrain.

    Wally Caruana
  1. Francesca Cavazzini
    Specialist - Aboriginal Art
    76 Paddington Street
    Sydney, 2021
    Work +61 2 8412 2225
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