NORTH-WEST AUSTRALIA OLSEN (JOHN HENRY)  Alex Bortignon's Diary of the 1982 exploration of Western Australia's North-West Coast
Lot 122
John Henry Olsen (Australian, born 1928) Alex Bortignon's Diary of the 1982 exploration of The Land Beyond Time Expedition to Western Australia's North-West Coast
Sold for AU$ 21,960 (US$ 20,527) inc. premium
Auction Details
John Henry Olsen (Australian, born 1928) Alex Bortignon's Diary of the 1982 exploration of The Land Beyond Time Expedition to Western Australia's North-West Coast John Henry Olsen (Australian, born 1928) Alex Bortignon's Diary of the 1982 exploration of The Land Beyond Time Expedition to Western Australia's North-West Coast John Henry Olsen (Australian, born 1928) Alex Bortignon's Diary of the 1982 exploration of The Land Beyond Time Expedition to Western Australia's North-West Coast John Henry Olsen (Australian, born 1928) Alex Bortignon's Diary of the 1982 exploration of The Land Beyond Time Expedition to Western Australia's North-West Coast NORTH-WEST AUSTRALIA OLSEN (JOHN HENRY)  Alex Bortignon's Diary of the 1982 exploration of Western Australia's North-West Coast NORTH-WEST AUSTRALIA OLSEN (JOHN HENRY)  Alex Bortignon's Diary of the 1982 exploration of Western Australia's North-West Coast NORTH-WEST AUSTRALIA OLSEN (JOHN HENRY)  Alex Bortignon's Diary of the 1982 exploration of Western Australia's North-West Coast NORTH-WEST AUSTRALIA OLSEN (JOHN HENRY)  Alex Bortignon's Diary of the 1982 exploration of Western Australia's North-West Coast
Lot Details
John Henry Olsen (Australian, born 1928)
Alex Bortignon's Diary of the 1982 exploration of The Land Beyond Time Expedition to Western Australia's North-West Coast manuscript on paper, a few early entries in Bortignon's hand and by Mary Durack, but the majority of text a transcription by John Olsen after Alex Bortignon, extra-illustrated with approximately 133 coloured Polaroids (or Kodak equivalent) and 42 original sketches by John Olsen, mostly direct into the text, but a few on leaves from a shorthand book used on the expedition and now pasted in at the appropriate date, within a leather-bound album lettered in blind 'Gästebuch' on upper cover, preserved in fold-over cloth case, 4to, 1982
30.0 x 24.0cm (11 13/16 x 9 7/16in).
(3)

Footnotes

  • The Diary covers the 1982 exploration of the North-West Coast of Western Australia carried out by the artist John Olsen, author Mary Durack, art critic Geoffrey Dutton, naturalist Vincent Serventy and Alex Bortignon, leader of the expedition and art dealer, as celebrated in the book The Land Beyond Time (1984), a copy of which is included with the lot (inscribed by both Olsen and Bortignon to the mining entrepreneur Sir Garrick Agnew (1930-1987), and with two original sketches by Olsen). The book reproduces dozens of sketches and paintings by Olsen, but despite similarities here and there, those of the Diary are different. Work on the text of the Diary was abandoned, resulting in some blank leaves. The lot is also offered with a collection of photocopies of alternative sketches by Olsen, newspaper articles etc. all relating to the journey. The diary, book and photocopies are preserved in three matching fold-over cloth cases.

    The 42 original drawings and watercolours by John Olsen are:

    6 August
    'Cape Inscription'

    19 August
    Sketch of Alex Bortignon with camera
    'A Character at Iron Clad'

    20 August
    'Marble Bar'

    22 August
    Untitled sketch
    Group of three cattlemen
    View of hills

    23 August
    Group resting in the shade
    'Horses at 80 Mile Beach'

    24 August
    'Meat House at Mandora'
    'Wise dog' [sheltering behind truck]
    Portrait
    Two studies of Aborigines at La Grange

    25 August
    Study of an Aborigine

    26 August
    'Drunken Aborigine acting as a guru to hippies'

    27 August
    'Aborigines outside a Pub'

    28 August
    'Confidences' [couple at bar]

    6 September
    'Aboriginal afflicted with leprosy'
    'Mowajam People'

    7 September
    'Kimberly' (two views)

    8 September
    'Brown Bittern'
    'King Leopold Ranges'

    10 September
    'White Crowned Friar Bird'

    12 September
    Sketch in Drysdale National Park
    'Ash from a burnt tree'
    Basil, Aborigine at Kalumburu
    'The tribal elders answered our question' (head)
    'A hill in Kununurra'
    Sketch of reclining Aborigine with dustbins, dog and washing

    21 September
    'Learning to write'

    24 September
    Three sketches of Aboriginal groups at Hooker's Creek

    29 September
    'Begin exploration of the ranges'
    Sketch of a helicopter

    30 March
    'Tree frog'

    31 March
    'Flight into the conglomerates'
    'Mt. John'

    1 April
    'Coming back in the wet'

    2-5 April
    'Man on a bike' at Broome
    Aboriginal woman with two children

    It seems that the out-of-sequence entries at the end relate to further exploration in the autumn of 1983.
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Contacts
  1. Alex Clark
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  2. Mark Fraser
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    Australia
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  3. Francesca Cavazzini
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  4. Merryn Schriever
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    Work +61 (0) 2 8412 2222
    FaxFax: +61 2 9475 4110