Lauraine Diggins Fine Art specialises in Australian colonial, impressionist, modern, contemporary and Australian Aboriginal painting, sculpture and decorative arts. Sourcing major European masterworks upon request.
Founded and Directed by the late Lauraine Diggins OAM from 1974 to 2019, the Gallery continues the same operations in the Australian fine art market consulting throughout Australia and internationally with Lauraine’s Husband Michael Blanche, Daughter Nerida Blanche as Directors and long term Gallery Manager Ruth Lovell.
The Gallery, discreetly located in a quiet Melbourne street and purpose designed by architect Graeme Gunn, is set in an environment which provides for confidentiality and is a relaxing place in which to view a wide selection of Australian fine art and Aboriginal art. The Gallery’s philosophy is about establishing long term relationships with its clients focusing on their interests, assessing their needs and meeting their objectives.
The Gallery has cultivated strong relationships with Australian Aboriginal communities and curated the exhibition, A Myriad of Dreaming: Twentieth Century Aboriginal Art, which toured interstate in 1989 and was supported by an extensive catalogue. Well documented, fully illustrated and scholarly catalogues accompany many of the exhibitions. The Gallery also curates and participates in exhibitions and fairs internationally including Hong Kong in 1994, Australian Modern in Milan, Italy in 2001, ArtParis in 2004, 2005 and 2006, and Moscow World Fine Art Fair in 2008.
Lauraine Diggins Fine Art has built strong working relationships with private, corporate and institutional collectors and has been responsible for the placement of many significant art works into public collections.
Lauraine Diggins OAM
Lauraine was an approved valuer under the Australian Government Cultural Gifts Program and served as honorary valuer for a number of State funded touring exhibitions. A former foundation member of a number of State Art Galleries. Lauraine was a regular guest lecturer at Melbourne University, Department of Fine Arts, Classical Studies and Archaeology, Museum Studies, Art and the Market and is an Industry Partner, Strategic Partnerships with Industry -Research and Training Scheme “Authentication of Australian Art – Artists’ Supports”, The Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne.
Lauraine’s professional involvement in Australian art commenced in 1974, with her acquisition of Bartoni Gallery in South Yarra. Flourishing, she developed into the highly respected dealer. The early 1980s saw Lauraine compiling expansive exhibitions of Australian art showing from her home in North Caulfield before establishing a purpose-built gallery for Lauraine Diggins Fine Art in 1988, providing an environment of discretion, contemplation and warmth, opening with the exhibition The Antipodeans: Another Chapter.
Lauraine’s confident, engaging manner, matched with an extraordinary work ethic, paved her success in securing and placing a great number of significant artworks in both private and public collections, including all the major Australian public institutions: National Gallery of Australia; Art Gallery of New South Wales; Queensland Art Gallery; National Gallery of Victoria; Art Gallery of Western Australia; Art Gallery of South Australia; Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery; Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery; Museums and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory; National Library of Australia; State Library of Victoria; as well as many regional & university collections Australia-wide, and private collections internationally and throughout Australia.
Her support of artists encompassed relationships and exhibitions from those just starting their career to others firmly established in the canons of Australian art history.
Her concern for providing a rounded experience for clients, from the private, corporate and institutional spheres, led many to becoming lifelong friends.
Gallery exhibitions have highlighted individual artists including: Nora Heysen, Constance Stokes, Emily Kngwarray, Albert Tucker, Sidney Nolan, Joy Hester, Arthur Boyd, Tom Gleghorn, Lawrence Daws, Ronald Millar, Fred Williams, Charles Blackman, Mark Strizic, Kathleen, Poly and Angelina Ngal, Nancy Kunoth Petyarr, Richard Crichton, Cowboy Loy Pwerl, Mike Green, Janet Green, Jeff Makin, Gloria Petyarr, Dianne Coulter, Andrew Rogers, Ivan Durrant, Fraser Fair, Helmut Lueckenhausen, Katherine Hattam, John Dent, Andrea Hylands, Stephen Bowers, Deborah Walker, Michael McWilliams, Andrew Sayers, Robert Clinch, Peter Walsh, Grant Donaldson, Xiaoping Zhou, Elizabeth Kunoth Kngwarray, Peter Churcher, Genevieve Kemarr Loy and Lorraine White.
However, perhaps the highest acclaim came for her carefully curated Collectors’survey shows featuring Australian art encompassing colonial, impressionist, modern, contemporary and Indigenous painting, sculpture, works on paper and decorative arts featuring works by revered masters including John Glover, Henry Burn, Eugene von Guerard, Abram Louis Buvelot, Thomas Clark, Isaac Whitehead, Haughton Forrest, Nicholas Chevalier, Charles Douglas Richardson, Walter Withers, Frederick McCubbin, Tom Roberts, Emma Minnie Boyd, Jane Price, Clara Southern, Arthur Boyd Snr, Rupert Bunny, David Davies, Emanuel Phillips Fox, Arthur Streeton, Charles Conder, Leon Pole, George Lambert, Ethel Carrick Fox, Margaret Preston, Hans Heysen, Bessie Davidson, Elioth Gruner, Hilda Rix Nicholas, Clarice Beckett, Roland Wakelin, Dorrit Black, Ian Fairweather, Grace Cossington Smith, Lloyd Rees, Danila Vassilieff, Horace Trenerry, Albert Namatjira, Emily Kngwarray, Paddy Bedford, Russell Drysdale, Robert Dickerson, Albert Tucker, James Gleeson, Donald Friend, Sidney Nolan, John Brack, Arthur Boyd, Ray Crooke, John Perceval, David Boyd, Margaret Olley, Rover Thomas, Fred Williams, John Olsen, Charles Blackman, Marea Gazzard, George Baldessin, Brett Whiteley, Robert Jacks, Lin Onus, Augustus Dall’Ava, Robert Baines, Terry Yumbulul, Susan Wraight, Peter Schipperheyn, William Eicholtz.
With her expertise and knowledge, Lauraine has assisted to bring a greater appreciation of Australian art to international attention with two exhibitions at the China Club, Hong Kong; SOFA Chicago; Australian Modern in Milan (2002); Memory as Landscape October Gallery, London (2005); ArtParis (2004-05-06) and the Moscow World Fine Art Fair (2008). Lauraine curated the milestone exhibition Myriad of Dreaming in 1989, which was accompanied by a fully illustrated scholarly catalogue. This seminal publication does much to explain the visual language of indigenous art and was used by the Melbourne Olympic bid for presentation to each of the Olympic delegates. This passion for scholarship was partly out of respect for the integrity of each artwork but also her desire to provide an educative focus, an element emphasised through the Gallery website and publications, in particular the Collectors’ Exhibitions. Almost in spite of being a commercial gallery, Lauraine Diggins Fine Art hosts exhibitions which aim to not only promote Australian art but grow our understanding, with important and varied artworks and engaging expert writers and speakers. Her desire to share her expertise and knowledge in this educational way saw her write and speak in numerous forums, as well as developing the first private comprehensive course on the study of Australian art in 1992.
From 2000 – 2004, Lauraine represented the Aboriginal community, the Artists of Ampilatwatja and the Gallery continues to work with select artists from Utopia in central Australia, the area where the internationally celebrated artist Emily Kngwarray hailed from and an area of personal passion for Lauraine. The Gallery’s promotion of artists from Utopia through exhibitions both in Australia and internationally has brought their work to greater attention of collectors worldwide and led to the commission of Gloria Petyarr’s design for a scarf by the famous fashion house Hermes, the only Australian artist to be honoured in this way. Lauraine wore one of these scarves to her OAM investiture.
Her involvement in the arts extended beyond her Gallery walls, being an expert assessor for the government’s Protection of Moveable Cultural Heritage Act and the Cultural Gifts Program. Memberships included the Australian Antique and Art Dealers’ Association; the Aboriginal Art Association of Australia; the Art Consulting Association of Australia; signatory to the Indigenous Art Code; Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation; Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation; founder benefactor National Gallery of Victoria Foundation; foundation Member of the Queensland Art Gallery and National Gallery of Australia’s Foundations; Life Member, Shepparton Art Gallery and a member of all Australian state galleries. Lauraine was a board member of the National Gallery of Victoria Foundation from 1990 – 94. She was invited to be a patron of Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery in 2002, having previously been a member of their art advisory board. She was an Industry Partner with The Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, Strategic Partnerships with Industry – Research and Training Scheme “Authentication of Australian Art – Artists’ Supports”, 2000 and a member of I-Leap, the Indigenous Leadership, Excellence and Achievement Program. She supported universities, in particular Deakin and Melbourne, through guest lecture series and board positions.
In 2019 Lauraine was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours for services to the museums and galleries sector. Beyond her reputation in the commercial art world and relationship with numerous artists, Lauraine enriched the visual arts in this country through her support and philanthropic contribution to many public institutions. We particularly admired her ability and passion in placing artworks in public collections for all the nation to enjoy. Her promotion of indigenous art, from the expansive exhibition A Myriad of Dreaming: Twentieth Century Aboriginal Art in 1989; her success in negotiating Gloria Petyarr’s representation through the international fashion house Hermes; her involvement in the arts of Utopia and her keen sense of an educational focus through the Gallery’s website are worthy of recognition.
Read Lauraine’s OAM citation here
VALE Lauraine Diggins OAM
It is with great sorrow and sadness Lauraine Diggins Fine Art advises of the death of our Gallery Founder and Director Lauraine Diggins OAM in April 2019. It has been a long cherished hope of Lauraine’s that the Gallery she created continues to provide into the future the same knowledge, passion and integrity for which Lauraine herself has been for so long admired and respected. This is a task to which Ruth Lovell, Gallery Manager, and Nerida Blanche, daughter and Gallery Co-Director and Michael Blanche, husband and Gallery Co-Director, look to all the Gallery’s friends and supporters to help us to achieve.
Read the Gallery tribute to Lauraine here
The life of Gallery Founder and Director
Lauraine Diggins OAM
was honoured with a public memorial service on
Monday 17th June 2019, 1.30pm
Arts Centre Melbourne
100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Tributes to Lauraine were presented by
Ms Lin Oke, Reflections from the ‘OT Group’ (Occupational Therapy)
Dr Daniel Thomas AM, Director Emeritus, Art Gallery of South Australia
Ms Antonia Syme, Director, Australian Tapestry Workshop
Mr Adrian Newstead OAM, Founding Director, Cooee Art
Mr Steve Dimopoulos MP, MLA for Oakleigh, Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer
Dr Gerard Vaughan AM, former Director, National Gallery of Australia and National Gallery of Australia
Ms Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, former Director General, National Library of Australia.
Good scholarship the key to catalogue’s popularity
Lyndall Crisp, The Financial Review, 26 September 2002, p.54
Never mind the $5 million worth of paintings, the catalogue for the Lauraine Diggins’ seventh Annual Collectors’ Exhibition has become something of a prized possession. Serious collectors consider it their bible, libraries and galleries wouldn’t be without it.
“It’s not just a matter of taking a photo of a painting and putting it in the catalogue”, says Diggins, a Melbourne fine arts dealer, “it’s got to be visually interesting. It’s got to look good in the catalogue and hanging on the wall. Exciting.”
Diggins takes great pride in her catalogue, which is not surprising considering some clients buy sight unseen. One overseas client spent $2million last year, such was his confidence in Diggins.
“I try hard to provide really good scholarship about the artwork”, she says. “The text is written to the painting, it’s not just filler copy. The serious buyer already knows the autobiographical stuff. If all you do is provide background, it won’t be read. You have to say where it sits in the overall ouevre, how it was constructed. That’s far more important. I try to trace the history of a painting and if it’s been through the auctions, we say that in the catalogue. That doesn’t happen very often. It’s a very valuable tool for clients. And it’s important for young living artists to be in it because it sites them in Australian art history. It gives them relevance of place as to where they sit.”
The exhibition, a masterful collection of 130 works, took Diggins eight months to assemble. It boasts names such as Eugene von Guerard, Frederick McCubbin, Margaret Preston, Russell Drysdale, Donald Friend, Albert Tucker, Charles Blackman, Fred Williams, Sidney Nolan and Charles Conder.
Le contemporain aborigene – Beatrice de Rochebouet, Le Figaro, 1 April 2005, p.22
Lauraine Diggins de Melbourne offre une plongée dans la culture aborigene (centre de l’australie et de la region des Kimberley) et ses creations aux lignes abstraites, memoires d’un peuple, exposeés à new york et à paris depuis 1988. Les acryliques peintres en 1945 sur des grands tissus de lin par Gloria Petyarr interprètent avec des signes propres, mélange de graffiti et de pointillisme, l’histoire et les lègendes de la communauté d’Utopia. Ces fresques libres racontent la faune et la flore issues de leur cadres de view avec une poésie qui touche (de 12 à 13 500 Euro). A découvrir absolument.
Lauraine Diggins of Melbourne plunges us into the Aboriginal culture (central Australia and the Kimberley region) and its creations with abstract lines, memories of a people, exhibited in New York and Paris since 1988 (Magiciens de la Terre at the Pompidou Centre). The acrylic paints on grand canvases by Gloria Petyarr interpret with signs, through a mix of scribbles and of dots, the history and the legends of the Utopia community (in the centre of the country). These liberated paintings relate the wildlife and the flora emanate from their frameworks of view with a touching poetry (from 12 to 13 500 Euros). An absolute must-see.
Lauraine Diggins Fine Art acts as both agent on behalf of its clients and in its own right. The Gallery offers works for resale either through the exhibitions it curates, through direct offer to existing clients, and from time to time in conjunction with other dealers. The asking price is determined between Lauraine Diggins Fine Art and the vendor and upon sale of the artwork a commission is paid to Lauraine Diggins Fine Art.
The commission structure is as follows:
Artworks with value up to $20,000 – 20%
Artworks with value over $20,000 – 16%
All artworks are covered by Lauraine Diggins Fine Art’s comprehensive insurance policy and all care and attention is afforded to artworks whilst they are our responsibility.
Terms & Conditions
Lauraine Diggins Fine Art maintains a high level of integrity. Any use of the Gallery’s website content compromises this integrity or that does not comply with that which are stated in the Copyright Notice is strictly prohibited.
Lauraine Diggins Fine Art reserves the right to suspend or cancel any client accounts it deems as being suspicious or inappropriate.
Lauraine Diggins Fine Art respects your right to privacy. No personal information will be collected without the prior consent of the individual. Lauraine Diggins Fine Art will not disclose any personal information to any party not specifically authorized by the individual.
Lauraine Diggins Fine Art
5 Malakoff Street
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 3161