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Lot 2
Albert Namatjira
(circa 1902-1959)
(Palm Valley), c.1943

Sold for AU$ 20,130 (US$ 13,584) inc. premium
Albert Namatjira (circa 1902-1959)
(Palm Valley), c.1943
signed lower right: 'ALBERT NAMATJIRA'
watercolour and pencil on paper
38.5 x 27.0cm (15 3/16 x 10 5/8in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE
    Pvt. John Schneider, acquired directly from the artist c.1943 when stationed with the Australian Army in Alice Springs
    thence by descent
    Private collection, Melbourne

    RELATED WORK
    Palm Valley, James Range, 1945 in Alison French, Seeing the Centre: The Art of Albert Namatjira 1902-1959, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002, p.111 (illus.)

    By the beginning of World War II, Albert Namatjira's career was well established, thanks in part, to the ongoing friendship with fellow-artist Rex Battarbee, and the support of Pastor FW Albrecht and other missionaries. His works were exhibited around the country in sell-out shows in Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane. Despite the isolation of Hermannsburg, the onset of war brought with it new buyers through the army personnel stationed in Alice Springs during this period.1

    Palm Valley, part of Namatjira's mother's country, was a regular subject for the artist, particularly in the 1940s. Whilst in many examples the artist focuses on the relationship between these towering palms to the expanses of blue skies above or the vast landscape beyond, in this example we see a more intimate setting. A family of tightly grouped palms emerge from a seemingly impenetrable undergrowth, as if silent witnesses to this sacred site. The density of the vegetation is further enhanced by its reflection in the still rockpool below, emphasizing even further the sense of isolation of this place. We catch a mere glimpse of clouded sky: the only hint of its vastness, the spindly trunk of a palm on the right whose top we cannot see as it reaches upwards and beyond the picture's frame.

    1. Alison French, Seeing the Centre: The Art of Albert Namatjira 1902-1959, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002, p.14
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