Emily Kam Kngawarray (Emily Kame Kngwarreye)(circa 1916-1996) Untitled (Alagura/Alhalkere), 1989
Lot 57
Emily Kam Kngawarray (Emily Kame Kngwarreye)(circa 1916-1996) Untitled (Alagura/Alhalkere), 1989
Sold for AU$ 244,000 (US$ 226,762) inc. premium
Lot Details
Emily Kam Kngawarray (Emily Kame Kngwarreye)(circa 1916-1996)
Untitled (Alagura/Alhalkere), 1989
inscribed 'Emily' and bears catalogue number B154 on the reverse
synthetic polymer paint on canvas
150 x 120cm (59 1/16 x 47 1/4in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    Originally sold by Donald & Janet Holt of Delmore Downs through Aboriginal Arts & Crafts, Perth (then managed by Mary Macha's sister)
    Purchased from Mary Macha, Subiaco, Perth, W.A. in May 1994
    The Laverty Collection, Sydney

    EXHIBITED:
    Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Alhalkere-Paintings from Utopia, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 20 February - 13 April 1998; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 May - 19 July 1998; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 8 September - 22 November 1998; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 13 February - 26 April 1999, cat. no. 12
    A Century of Collecting 1901>2001 curated by Nick Waterlow, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Sydney, 29 March - 28 April 2001
    Ngurra Kutu: Going Home Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, September 2001 - June 2002
    Utopia: the Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, curated by Margo Neale for the National Museum of Australia, Canberra at the National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan, 26 February - 13 April 2008; the National Art Center, Tokyo, Japan, 28 May - 28 July 2008; National Museum of Australia, Canberra, 22 August - 12 October 2008
    Remembering Forward: Australian Aboriginal Painting since 1960 / Malerei Der Australischen Aborigines seit 1960, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany, 20 November 2010 - 20 March 2011, cat. no. 6
    Laverty 2, Newcastle Region Art Gallery, Newcastle, 14 May - 14 August 2011

    LITERATURE:
    Margo Neale, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Alhalkere-Paintings from Utopia, exh. cat., Brisbane: Queensland Art Gallery; South Yarra, Victoria: Macmillan, 1998, cat. no. 12, pl.7, p.6 (illus.) and fig. 31 p.25 [illus. (detail)]
    Nick Waterlow, A Century of Collecting 1901-2001, exh. cat., Sydney: Ivan Dougherty Gallery, University of New South Wales, College of Fine Arts, 2001, no. 27, p.16 (illus.)
    Kasper Konig (ed.) et al., Remembering Forward: Australian Aboriginal Painting since 1960 / Malerei Der Australischen Aborigines seit 1960, exh. cat., London: Paul Holberton Publishing, 2010, cat. no. 6, p.31 (illus.)
    Philip Batty, 'Selling Emily: confessions of a white advisor', Artlink, vol.27, no.2, 2007, p.68 (illus.)
    Margo Neale and Benita Tunks (eds.), Utopia: the Genius of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, exh. cat., Tokyo: Yomiuri Shinbun Tōkyō Honsha, 2008, p.114 (illus.), p.234 (Japanese edition); Canberra: National Museum of Australia Press, 2008, p.81 (illus.) (English edition)
    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.88 (illus.)
    'Tradition trifft auf Moderne' by Hirmer Verlag, Herbst magazine, 2010, p.39 (illus).
    Stadt Revue Kolnmagazin (Museum Ludwig's magazine), 23 June 2010, p.98 (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, p.94 (illus.)
    Djon Mundine, 'Travelling from Utopia', Art Monthly, issue 250, June 2012, p.39 (illus.)

    The meteoric painting career of Emily Kame
    Kngwarreye commenced with works such as this,
    painted within the first year in which she took to the
    medium of acrylic on canvas. The painting features
    a loose grid or matrix of lines joining circular nodes;
    the grid resonates with the conventional compositional
    structures of desert paintings where the configuration
    represents sacred sites joined by the journey lines of
    the ancestors. A variation on this grid structure in a
    painting from the same time can be seen in Awelye,
    1989-90 in the Holmes à Court Collection (Carrigan,
    B. [ed.], Utopia: Ancient Cultures, New Forms, Heytesbury
    and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, 1998, pp.
    34-5, illus.).

    Kngwarreye used variations of the grid to underscore
    the compositions of many of her later works, to
    the point where the grids are subsumed in fields of
    coloured dotting. Whereas in most of these paintings the
    combination of line and dot refers to her main totem,
    the pencil yam, kam, its seeds and the tracery of the
    roots of the plant underground, this work is exceptional
    in that the matrix refers to the root system of a grass,
    atherrk (athugura) which is edible in the dry season,
    while the dots represent katyerr, the desert raisin.
    By the time she passed away in September 1996,
    Kngwarreye had come to be regarded as one of
    Australia's major painters of the late twentieth century.
    Patrick McCaughey, in his opening address at the
    Fred Williams retrospective exhibition Infinite Horizons
    at the National Gallery of Australia in August 2011,
    listed her among the most important painters of the
    Australian landscape, on a par with Williams, Sidney
    Nolan and Arthur Boyd. This for an artist whose
    paintings were not seen publically until 1980 when she
    was working with the Utopia Women's Batik Group.
    More accolades followed. In 1992 Kngwarreye was
    awarded an Australian Artists Creative Fellowship in
    recognition of her contribution to the cultural heritage
    of the nation, and her work was chosen to represent
    Australia at the Venice Biennale of 1997 along with
    that of Yvonne Koolmatrie and Judy Watson. Emily
    Kame Kngwarreye's achievements were recognized
    in two major retrospective exhibitions of her work
    which included Untitled (Alalgura/Alhalkere), 1989: one
    organized by the Queensland Art Gallery in 1998 that
    toured Australia; another by the National Museum of
    Australia that toured Japan in 2008.

    Wally Caruana

    This painting is sold with accompanying Delmore Gallery documentation.
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