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Important Australian Art / Emily Kame Kngwarreye (circa 1910-1996) Spirited Desert, 1991

Lot 8
Emily Kame Kngwarreye
(circa 1910-1996)
Spirited Desert, 1991
23 August 2022, 19:00 AEST

AU$30,000 - AU$50,000

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Emily Kame Kngwarreye (circa 1910-1996)

Spirited Desert, 1991
inscribed verso: 'Emily Kngwarreye / 1Z101'
synthetic polymer paint on linen
122.0 x 91.5cm (48 1/16 x 36in).


Delmore Gallery, Alice Springs, Northern Territory (cat. 1Z101)
Shades of Ochre, Darwin
Private collection, Sydney, acquired from the above in 1996

Janet Holt describes in the accompanying Delmore Gallery documentation that this work was created 'in the excitement following recent September rains over vast and very dry country along the Sandover River (Urapuntja) north-east of Alice Springs. 1991 had brought a rare winter rain, and unsurprisingly this was exciting for everyone, rousing Kngwarreye's enthusiasm and chatter, particularly with the green "pick" at the base of dry grasses and the slow emergence of new grasses to fatten kangaroos.'

1991 marks a period where the underlaying yam roots and tubers of the previous period are no longer evident. Kngwarreye began experimenting with a much broader palette, encompassing bright colours into her existing repertoire of more muted tones, to reflect the changing seasons. The rich red, yellow and orange palette in this work represents the fruits and seeds emerging after the sudden rains. These vibrant tones convey the joyfulness experienced after the much-needed rain and the gratitude for the bounty they produced. Holt compares Kngwarreye's light handed dotting and careful placement in this work to Kame, 1991, held in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.1

Francesca Cavazzini

1. Jennifer Isaacs, T.Smith, J.Ryan et al, Emily Kngwarreye Paintings, Craftsmans House, Sydney, 1998, Plate 20, pp. 68-69 (illus).

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