Thomas Nandjiwarra Amagula (circa 1926-1989) Untitled (Ceremony), c.1953
Lot 119
Thomas Nandjiwarra Amagula
(circa 1926-1989)
Untitled (Ceremony), c.1953
Sold for AU$ 2,928 (US$ 2,749) inc. premium
Lot Details
Thomas Nandjiwarra Amagula (circa 1926-1989)
Untitled (Ceremony), c.1953
inscribed verso with 'Dr R.C. Cockerill', artist's name and title
natural earth pigments on eucalyptus bark
46.0 x 67.5cm (18 1/8 x 26 9/16in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE
    Private collection, acquired from an exhibition in Geraldton, Western Australia, 1954
    Sotheby's, Fine Aboriginal and Contemporary Art, Melbourne, 17 June, 1996, lot 6, as Nambadjieadja
    The Collection of Milton and Alma Roxanas, Sydney

    In 1921 the Church Missionary Society established itself on Groote Eylandt. In the early days the missionaries on the island began requesting that the artists produce small, secular works depicting single animals that they could collect and sell. Later developments in the 1960s onwards led to larger paintings with multiple figures (R. Crumlin and A, Knight, Aboriginal Art and Spirituality, Melbourne: Dove Publications, 1995, p.30). Nandjiwarra in particular, surpassed all others, often executing complex and detailed narratives relating to traditional ceremonies and spiritual subjects. In fact, numerous series by the artist are known including four sets of narratives from the 1950s relating the seventeen stages of Death on Groote Eylandt collected by the Rev. L. M. Howellin now the collection of the National Gallery of Australia.

    In this work, Nandjiwarra has created a dynamic ceremonial scene. The movement is heightened by the gestural, feathered brushstrokes in white and yellow ochre surrounding the dancing figures signifying the impact of the dancer's soles on the ceremonial ground. The stars painted in yellow ochre and tipped with white heightened against a black background appear to twinkle in the sky. The larger celestial form around which the figures dance is most likely the Morning Star.

    The Milky Way and the constellations is a common theme and can frequently be found in the works of Nandjiwarra. His subjects include The Spirits of the Morning Star Dancing in The Daylight, 1964, How the Stars were Made, c.1960 (previously in the collection of William McE Miller Jr exhibited in The Art of Arnhem Land: From the Collection of William McE. Miller, Jr, The Taylor Museum of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 1966) and The Creation of the Constellation Wuripiremba in the National Museum of Australia (attributed to Wandjiwara).
Activities
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Motor Cars and Motorcycles:

Buyer's Premium Rates
22% on the Hammer Price

GST at the current rate of 10% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Contacts
  1. Francesca Cavazzini
    Specialist - Aboriginal Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    76 Paddington Street
    Sydney, Australia 2021
    Work +61 2 8412 2225
    FaxFax: +61 2 9475 4110