Fine Art | New Buyers & Record Prices


Covid-19 has presented many challenges for Auction houses over the last 18 months, Theodore Bruce has risen to meet these challenges through a change in attitude & practice, moving with the trend to Online Auctions.

Our recent Art | Australian, Aboriginal & International | Timed Online auction saw the success of this new strategy see our audience increase & art selling for increasingly high prices.

The star of the auction was an early work by Margaret Preston, Floral Still Life with Roses in a Silver Bowl. Sold for $40,960 IBP, which whilst unsigned had a bluechip provenance, having been given to the Grandfather of our vendor by his Aunt, Bessie Davidson.

Bessie Davidson & Margaret Preston enjoyed a long friendship, working, travelling & studying together here & in Europe.
Bessie Davidson met Margaret Preston around 1899 when she became a pupil of Preston’s. They subsequently lived, travelled & worked together for nearly a decade & the relationship became the most important of Preston’s early life. Davidson facilitated the development of Preston’s career, probably providing financial support to travel overseas, & in turn Preston’s teaching facilitated the rapid development of Davidson’s art. The relationship granted to each a measure of social & economic independence. Davidson having been wholly converted to French artistic traditions on her first trip to Europe, she subsequently settled permanently in Paris. Theirs was ultimately not simply a personal parting but a philosophical one. While Davidson became immersed in School of Paris painting, Preston established a career in Sydney, aiming to create the foundations of a distinctly Australian school of art. Edwards, D., Peel, Rose., Mimmocchi, D. Margaret Preston, AGNSW 2005, pp15-22.  Much has been written about Preston’s early work & this work is a fine example.


Other highlights of the Auction were a lovely Still Life by Nora Heysen $16,250 IBP, Esther Paterson, Portrait of the Artist’s Mother $6,875 IBP, Ludwig Becker, Portrait of Johann Jakob Ritter und Edler von Col, a Pioneer of the American west, painted in 1834 prior to the artist’s arrival in Australia & George Baldessin’s wonderful etching Pears (Yellow Version) $6,250 IBP

Other works of interest were a series of cast works After the artist, Raynor Hoff, who produced the sculpture for The Anzac War Memorial in Hyde Park. These works were produced by Thomas Grounds & Co, of Munni Street Newtown, a company which also produced the sandstone coloured sculptures on the exterior of the Memorial. All the works came from the Estate of Artist, James R Jackson & his former wife, Artist Dora Toovey. The sculptures were keenly bid for and all found buyers above the high estimate.

The Aboriginal collection of works on canvas also found ready buyers & a lovely work on paper by Emily Kngwarreye made $5,080 IBP , was the standout.

Theodore Bruce’s next Art | Australian, Aboriginal & International | Timed Online Auction is scheduled for early November 2021. Entries for this online auction are now invited. Contact for an appraisal:

Australian & International Art: Sally Hardy:

Aboriginal Art: Jim Elmslie: