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Aboriginal Art

Bonhams offers Aboriginal art three times a year in our Important Australian Art auctions. With a strong emphasis on impeccable provenance and ethically-sourced works, our focus is on exceptional, museum-quality works. We include paintings on canvas, board and bark; works on paper; photography and sculpture dating from the 19th century to the present day; as well as artefacts from as early as the 18th century.

World auction records set by our department include Old Walter Tjampitjinpa's Untitled, 1972 (AU$73,800), which attracted global interest during our May 2022 sale, as well as Ginger Riley Munduwalawala's My Mother's Country (AU$196,800) and Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra's Untitled (Kalipinypa) (AU$231,800). Other recent stellar results include two paintings by Emily Kame Kngwarreye: Nterkwe - Emu Tucker II, 1991 (AU$209,100), which has returned to an Australian collection following hotly contested bidding, and Untitled, 1990 (AU$34,440), which flew past its estimate.

We have offered important works from international collections such as those of Sir Elton John and David Furnish, and esteemed Dutch collector Thomas Vroom, as well as the Australian single-owner collections of Reg Grundy AC OBE and Joy Chambers Grundy, Colin and Elizabeth Laverty, Clive Evatt and works from the estate of internationally renowned Kimberley artist, Paddy Bedford.

Our auctions include works from various regions throughout Australia, including the Kimberley, Central and Western Deserts, Arnhem Land, Tiwi Islands, APY Lands, Torres Strait Islands and also Urban centres. We are focused on the early and rare works of William Barak and Tommy McRae, Papunya boards from the founders of the Western Desert Movement, and the rare bark paintings and canvases by Alec Mingelmanganu. Contemporary works by Rover Thomas, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Paddy Bedford, Sally Gabori, Lin Onus, Albert Namatjira and John Mawurndjul are also included. We feature artefacts such as Queensland rainforest and Gulmari shields and bi-cornual baskets, Southeast Australian broad and parrying shields and early, intricately carved and decorated clubs and boomerangs from numerous areas.

Buying and selling Aboriginal art at Bonhams
Our specialists have extensive experience advising private collectors, art dealers, and corporate and public institutions on curating their collections, and on strategies for acquisition and deaccessioning. Contact a specialist directly to discuss your collection, or submit your item online for a free auction estimate.

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Thinking of selling? Get a free auction estimate by submitting your item online or contacting your local Bonhams. With specialists based in towns and cities worldwide, we are your local auction house.

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Photo of Francesca Cavazzini

Francesca Cavazzini

Specialist

Francesca Cavazzini is an Aboriginal Art Specialist at Bonhams Sydney. She graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Art History and following five years as a spe…

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Photo of Fredric Backlar

Fredric Backlar

Director

Fredric Backlar joined Bonhams in 2009 and is the Director of the African, Oceanic & Pre-Columbian Art Department. Starting out at Sotheby's in 1991, Fred has over 30 years of auction experience. Sinc…

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Photo of Alex Clark

Alex Clark

Specialist

Alex Clark began his career at Christie's in 2002 and, following a move to Sotheby's Australia, he joined Bonhams as an Australian art specialist in 2011. During his career he has been involved with t…

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Photo of Merryn Schriever

Merryn Schriever

Director

Merryn Schriever is Director of Bonhams Australia, having joined Bonhams in 2013. Merryn has overseen significant diversification and expansion of the company's presence in the Australian market, resu…

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