New auction record set at Bonhams Australian Art auction

Important Australian Art
18 Aug 2014
Melbourne, Como House

Melbourne, Australia, Monday 18 August 2014

A new auction record for celebrated Australian painter Howard Arkley was set by Bonhams during its recent Important Australia Art auction. A Large House with Fence, 1998, achieved AU$463,600, surpassing the 2007 auction record of AU$401,442 for Family Home, 1988. Selling to a private collector, the work flew past its auction estimate of AU$250,000 – 350,000, attracting strong bidding from a packed saleroom and multiple telephone bidders.

The painting, which measures more than three metres wide and two metres tall, depicts a vividly coloured suburban house and is one of several Arkley works which were inspired by real-life property advertisements. The work was painted one year before Arkley's untimely death in 1999, and was included in the prestigious 11th Biennale of Sydney. Bonhams chairman Mark Fraser noted that the painting was easily the best work by the artist to come onto the market in the past decade.

"Howard Arkley's paintings have become important, iconic symbols of urban Australian identity and works of this quality and size don't appear at auction very often," he said.

Adding to its cache, Mr Fraser said, was the fact that the painting is considered the companion piece to Superb + Solid, another monumental work painted in the same year. That work is now held in the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, where it is considered to be a collection highlight.

For press requests and images, please contact Emma Miller


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to

Related auctions