A collection of beautiful artworks amassed by the late John Fairlie Cuningham, the Art Gallery of NSW's most generous benefactor, will be auctioned by Bonhams in Sydney next week.
The 39 paintings, collected over 25 years by the Sydney stockbroker, are estimated to fetch between $1.1 and $1.4 million when they go to auction next Tuesday, November 22.
Cunningham, who died in January 2015, left 60 percent of his estate, or around $15 million, to the AGNSW Foundation, the largest bequest ever made to the gallery.
Bonhams chairman Mark Fraser said it was wonderful that the sale of the collection, which includes works by Jeffrey Smart, Arthur Streeton, Arthur Boyd and Margaret Olley, would directly benefit the gallery.
"Mr Cuningham's bequest specifically benefits the gallery Foundation, which is responsible for purchasing artworks," Mr Fraser said.
"We are very pleased to be offering this highly personal collection of Australian artworks from a passionate and discerning art lover."
Top lots in the sale include Arthur Streeton's Melba's Country, 1936, a landscape which may show the Victorian countryside near the home of his patron and friend Dame Nellie Melba, as well as Jeffrey Smart's Second Study for the Plastic Tube, 1980, both estimated at $200,000 to $300,000.
Other standouts include an unusually large Roy de Maistre painting, Studio Interior ($120,000¬$160,00), an early Arthur Boyd landscape Harkaway, View from the Grange, 1948 ($60,000$80,000) and Margaret Olley's verdant Mallee Blue Gumnuts, 1989, ($60,000$80,000).
Sydney viewings of the collection will be held from November 18 to 21, 10am to 5pm, at 111 Queen Street, Woollahra.
To view all lots in the John Cuningham Estate sale, see Lots 1 to 39 here
Media contact: Emma Miller; tel +61 (0) 401 642 535; firstname.lastname@example.org