Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri (circa 1926-1998) Untitled (Rain Dreaming at Nyunmanu), 1994
Lot 101
Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri (circa 1926-1998) Untitled (Rain Dreaming at Nyunmanu), 1994
Sold for AU$ 219,600 (US$ 205,273) inc. premium
Lot Details
Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri (circa 1926-1998)
Untitled (Rain Dreaming at Nyunmanu), 1994
bears artist's name and Papunya Tula Artists catalogue number MN940293 on the reverse
synthetic polymer paint on linen
152 x 183 cm (59 13/16 x 72 1/16in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    Painted at Kintore, Northern Territory
    Papunya Tula Artists, Alice Springs, Northern Territory
    Purchased from Utopia Art Sydney, Sydney in April 1994
    The Laverty Collection, Sydney

    EXHIBITED:
    Spirit and Place: Art in Australia 1861 - 1996, curated by Nick Waterlow and Ross Mellick, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 21 November 1996 - 31 March 1997
    The Laverty Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 20 June - 20 August 1998
    12th Biennale of Sydney 2000, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 26 May - 30 July 2000
    A Century of Collecting 1901>2001 curated by Nick Waterlow, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney, 29 March - 28 April 2001
    Laverty 2, Newcastle Region Art Gallery, Newcastle 14 May - 14 August 2011

    LITERATURE:
    Art & Australia, vol. 32, no. 1, Spring 1994, p.7 (illus.)
    'The Laverty Collection' by Anne Loxley, Art and Australia, Spring 1996, vol. 34, no. 1, p.69 (illus.)
    Ross Mellick and Nick Waterlow, Spirit and Place: Art in Australia 1861 - 1996, Sydney: Museum of Contemporary Art, 1996, p.62 (illus.)
    Joan Kerr, 'Divining the Spiritual', Art & Australia, vol. 35, no. 1, 1997, p.53 (illus.)
    John McDonald, 'Cull to be Kind', Sydney Morning Herald, 11 January 1997
    John McDonald, 'Art and Authenticity', in Collections', the International Magazine of Art & Culture, 1998, vol. 3, no.1, p.63
    Nick Waterlow, A Century of Collecting 1901>2001, Paddington, News South Wales: Ivan Dougherty Gallery, University of New South Wales, College of Fine Arts, 2001, no. 29, p.16 (illus.)
    Colin Laverty, 'Diversity and Strength: Contemporary Australian Aboriginal Art - A Private Collection', Arts of Asia, November - December 2003, cat. no. 13, p.87 (illus.)
    Colin Laverty and Elizabeth Laverty et al., Beyond Sacred: Recent Painting from Australia's Remote Aboriginal Communities - the collection of Colin and Elizabeth Laverty, Melbourne: Hardie Grant Books, 2008, p.80 (illus.)
    Colin Laverty and Elizabeth Laverty et al., Beyond Sacred: Australian Aboriginal Art - the collection of Colin and Elizabeth Laverty, Edition II, Melbourne: Kleimeyer Industries, 2011, pp.86-7 (illus.)

    Mick Namarari was one of the founding members
    of the men's painting group at Papunya in 1971
    and his paintings were included in nearly all of the
    consignments of paintings that were sent to the
    Stuart Art Centre in Alice Springs. He was a versatile
    artist, ready to experiment with a range of figuration
    and compositional structures while retaining the
    individuality of his 'hand'. His vast ancestral knowledge
    and his ritual standing allowed Namarari to paint
    a range of subjects that included the Wind, Water,
    Kangaroo and Marsupial Mouse Dreamings. In 1978
    he created a series of sublime paintings of the Moon
    Dreaming for Mick and the Moon, Geoffrey Bardon's
    film about the artist. A number of these paintings are
    in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia.
    Namarari won the National Aboriginal Art Award in 1991
    and in 1994 he was the first recipient of the Australia
    Council's Red Ochre Award
    for his contribution
    to Aboriginal culture at home and abroad.

    His main source of inspiration was the Kangaroo
    Dreaming at his place of birth, Marnpi. In the 1980s
    Namarari left Papunya for the Pintupi community of
    Walungurru (Kintore) from where he established an
    outstation at Nyunmanu. Nyunmanu is a water soakage
    at the site of the Dog Dreaming.

    Untitled (Rain Dreaming at Nyunmanu), 1994, relates to a
    number of paintings made by Namarari in the early
    years of the Papunya movement, including Dingo puppies
    (Ngunmanu)
    , 1972, and Ngyuman, 1972, the latter in
    the collection of the Flinders University Art Museum,
    Adelaide (see Ryan, J, J. Kean et al, Tjukurrtjanu: Origins
    of Western Desert art
    , Melbourne: National Gallery of
    Victoria, 2011 pp.169 and 172 respectively. A later
    related work is Untitled, 1997, in the collection of the
    Art Gallery of New South Wales, illustrated in Perkins,
    H. and H. Fink (eds), Papunya Tula: Genesis and Genius,
    Sydney: Art Gallery of New South Wales in association
    with Papunya Tula Artists, 2000, p.149.

    Painted during the wet season of early 1994, Untitled
    (Rain Dreaming at Nyunmanu)
    , ranks as one of Namarari's
    most accomplished paintings. His inventiveness is
    evident in the use of continuous brush strokes as
    opposed to the lines of joined dots favoured by most
    Pintupi painters, that were to become a distinguishing
    feature of his work from the late 1980s on. The hypnotic
    minimalism of lateral lines combined with subtle shifts
    in tonality lend this work a numinous quality that evokes
    the natural rhythms of sand hills and water; more
    significantly, the surface of the painting shimmers with
    ancestral light.

    In terms of Australian art history, Untitled (Rain Dreaming
    at Nyunmanu)
    , 1994, is a painting that crosses the cultural
    divide that had hindered the aesthetic appreciation of
    Aboriginal art on its own terms. In the ground-breaking
    exhibition Spirit and Place: Art in Australia 1861-1996 at
    the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, curated by
    Nick Waterlow and Ross Mellick in 1996–7, the painting
    was hung in the final room of the exhibition beside
    works by Maxie Tjampitjinpa, Rosalie Gascoigne, Brian
    Blanchflower and other non-Indigenous artists. Such
    juxtapositions of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal art
    were regarded at the time as 'a brave and important
    gesture', to quote the art critic John McDonald ('Cull
    to be Kind' in Spectrum Arts, Sydney Morning Herald,
    11 January 1997, p.12) who went on to state that '...
    surprisingly, no-one really loses by the comparison'.

    Wally Caruana

    This painting is sold with an accompanying Papunya Tula Artists certificate.
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