Albany watercolours by unknown artist to go under hammer

Albany Advertiser
“Fisherman’s Hut, Albany.” One of 11 watercolours by an unknown artist.
Camera Icon“Fisherman’s Hut, Albany.” One of 11 watercolours by an unknown artist. Credit: McKenzie’s Auctioneers

A mystery sketchbook containing unsigned watercolour artworks of Albany will go up for auction today.

McKenzie’s Auctioneers has listed it as an item of particular note, given the proficiency of the artwork and the mystery surrounding the artist.

The sketchbook contains 11 watercolours, including some of Albany.

Managing director Peter McKenzie said he estimated the “spectacular” pieces were painted around 1900.

“It’s definitely a professional artist,” Mr McKenzie said.

“I started the firm in the 1980s and I’ve sold over 20,000 artworks. To sell 20,000 you probably look at 150,000.

“When you look at pictures all day, every day you get to know what something professional looks like.

“Professional artists just paint in a more confident manner.

“That can be lacking in an amateur artists — they can be a bit more pedantic, they might not have the same control of tone and colour.”

A watercolour by an unknown artist.
Camera IconA watercolour by an unknown artist. Credit: McKenzie’s Auctioneers

Mr McKenzie said it was not out of the question that someone in Albany could recognise the artworks or the artist.

Also up for auction are two original lithographs from the sketches of French artist Louis De Sainson, who visited Albany on the Astrolabe in 1826.

One of the images depicts a local indigenous man showing his friends gifts he has received from French visitors.

Mr McKenzie said people had seemed to lose interest in historical pieces in recent years, leading to lower prices.

An Indigenous man shows his companions his gifts. By Louis De Sainson.
Camera IconAn Indigenous man shows his companions his gifts. By Louis De Sainson. Credit: McKenzie’s Auctioneers

He said Albany had been a solid source of items for him, including the rare Panoramic View of King George’s Sound by Lieutenant Robert Dale, which had sold for about $80,000.

The auction will take place in Claremont from 6pm today.

Telephone or absentee bids can be arranged by contacting the auctioneer.

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