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.

Margaret Rose Preston painting, Floral Still Life With Roses In A Silver Bowl, at Theodore Bruce auction house Sydney

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.

Emily Kngwarreye, (C.1909-1996), Yam Dreaming 1996, Acrylic On Paper

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: [email protected]

Aboriginal Art: Jim Elmslie: [email protected]