Tim Storrier’s Starlight and Sparks reached $227,045 on an estimate of $120,000 to $160,000, up from the $120,000 it made at auction with Lawson-Menzies in 2008. In the past year, there have been six similarly sized paintings of Storrier’s blazes at auction. Only three found buyers and of those, the highest price was paid for Summer Burn Off, which fetched $130,000 including a 20 per cent buyer’s premium with Shapiro in May 2014. But Menzies says Storrier is having a moment. “He’s as hot as he’s ever been,” he says. “There was plenty of competition on the floor for this one.”
He sees Storrier and Gary Shead, whose painting The Royal Touch went for $202,500, as the “best ambassadors for living artists that can consistently make value” in the $100,000 to $150,000 price range.
The market for more recent work was uneven. Early in the sale, David Larwill’s The Early Bird from 2004 sold for $44,182, above its $20,000 to $30,000 estimate.
Anthony Lister’s street art style was also well received, with his Supernatural Disorder 4 from 2014 selling for $19,636 on an estimate of $12,000 to $16,000.
But works by Zhong Chen and Deborah Paauwe sold below estimate, and Ben Quilty’s painting Insignia 4 and Tracey Moffat’s photograph Something More #7 were both passed in.
Jeffrey Smart’s Campbell Street from 1963 sold for $392,727 at the upper end of its estimate. His early work Motifs in London, produced before the artist developed his signature style, drew less attention, selling below estimate at $20,864.