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 on 19thof 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 Assistant Gallery Manager and Michael Blanche, husband and Gallery Director, look to all the Gallery’s friends and supporters to help us to achieve.

We pay tribute to Lauraine and recognise and celebrate her dedication to the arts in Australia, most recently acknowledged by her award of the OAM in the Australia Day Honours, 26 January 2019 for her service to the museums and galleries sector.

Michael Blanche, Lauraine Diggins and Nerida Blanche
at Lauraine’s investiture for her OAM 2019

The family will hold a private funeral service followed by a public memorial service and celebration of Lauraine’s recent OAM award. The details of this will be posted to our website once finalised.

Lauraine’s professional involvement in Australian art commenced in 1974, with her acquisition, almost on a whim, of Bartoni Gallery in South Yarra. It was obviously the right calling as she flourished and developed into the highly respected dealer of today. 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 designed with architect Graeme Gunn, providing an environment of discretion, contemplation and warmth, opening with the exhibition The Antipodeans: Another Chapter.

Lauraine Diggins Bartoni Gallery
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.

Myriad of Dreaming catalogue cover
Myriad of Dreaming catalogue cover

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.

Lauraine was instrumental in establishing a partnership arrangement with Australian Unity to provide a food care and garden program in Utopia. Her love of indigenous art was the focus of an exhibition at Deakin University, An Individual Perspective, highlighting works from her personal collection (2009).

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.

Lauraine Diggins at Buller
Lauraine Diggins at Buller

Outside of the arts, Lauraine’s interests and passions were never mere hobbies but integral to her life, and, never one to do things by halves, led to her involvement in a diverse range of pursuits: from skiing (coordinating St Catherine’s ski team) to opera (board member of Melbourne Opera) to dance (especially the Australian Ballet) to health and fitness (committee member for Women@TheAlfred) to wine (part owner of Scotchmans Hill) to horses (an avid equestrian from childhood), and unquestionably, dogs, which she was never without and which brought her such joy. She was an active member of the Lyceum Club and her adventurous spirit and passion for travel inspired experiences in numerous countries. However, her most treasured spot was the south coast of NSW, spending time with family and friends.

Lauraine inherited an interest in football from her father, Brighton Diggins, who was the first captain and playing coach to win a premiership at Carlton in 1938, as well as being a member of the South Melbourne Swans 1933 premiership team. Lauraine was the first female elected to the Carlton board in 2002 and remained a Director of the Carlton Football Club and Director of the Carlton Cricket and Football Social Club, including a year as Vice President, until early 2007.

Prior to becoming an art dealer Lauraine graduated as an Occupational Therapist, working for a period in this field and maintaining lifelong friendships within the group she studied with. She also worked for a time for the Australian Tourist Commission.

Of course the most influential and important aspect of her life was family and we acknowledge the profound loss to her husband Michael, daughter Nerida, son-in-law Aidan and grandchildren Luca and Camille. Our heartfelt thoughts are with them.

Lauraine was a generous, inspiring and formidable woman and very much the embodiment of ‘Lauraine Diggins Fine Art.’ We look forward to your continued support of the Gallery as her vital legacy. Lauraine Diggins Fine Art will continue to present stimulating exhibitions and source artworks for our clients, not only looking to Australian artists but also work with an international focus.

The family will hold a private funeral service followed by a public memorial service and celebration of Lauraine’s recent OAM award. The details of this will be posted to our website once finalised.

Vale Edmund Capon AM OBE

It is with sadness that we pay tribute to Edmund Capon. An individual as unique as his mismatched socks, his engaging personality brought much to the Australian art world and his enthusiasm and accessibility were but some of his special attributes.

 

Our thoughts are with Edmund’s family and friends and all at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Vale Edmund Capon  AM  OBE.

To read the tribute from Wayne Tunnicliffe, Curator of Australian Art at the AGNSW please click here.

Image copyright Sydney Morning Herald.

Andrew Sayers: Defining the Artist in The Good Weekend magazine

Bogola Head (2015) by Andrew Sayers, gouache on paper, 57cm x 76.5cm.

Good Weekend readers will have spotted John McDonald’s review of our current exhibition of gouaches by Andrew Sayers as reproduced below. The evocative landscapes, with a beautiful sense of space and place are on show until 27 April.

 

Art: Andrew Sayers

By John McDonald   March 15, 2019

Lived: Richmond, Melbourne. Age: 1957-2015. Represented by: Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, Melbourne; no Sydney gallery

His thing: Gouache on paper landscapes, painted in a range of locations.

Our take: After establishing his reputation as a curator at the National Gallery of Australia, Andrew Sayers went on to become the founding director of the National Portrait Gallery and, later, director of the National Museum of Australia. Only a few close friends knew that Sayers was also a secret artist who took every opportunity to go painting “en plein air”. Sayers had long intended to give up museum work and devote himself to artistic activities, but when diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he began to value every moment he could spend with a brush in his hand.

He held a first solo exhibition with Lauraine Diggins Fine Art in May 2015, and died in October that year. Andrew Sayers: Defining the Artist is his second solo show with the gallery, featuring goauche landscapes drawn from the estate. The quick-drying nature of gouache encourages a rapid response, and many of these works on paper might be described as sketches in which the artist has spontaneously jotted down his impressions. Other pictures are more considered, but it’s obvious that Sayers relished the challenge of painting at high speed, relying on eye and instinct. Like all dedicated landscape artists, he would return to the same motif again and again, investigating it from different angles under varying qualities of light.

Can I afford it? 

The works in this show range from $1500 to $5000, depending on size. The smallest, such as On the Spot Sketch, Wallaga Lake Bridge (2012), are 23cm/24cm x 32cm. The largest, such as the diptych Wooden Bridge (2010), are 57cm x 76cm and priced at $4950. Another large work is Bogola Head (pictured).

Where can I have a squiz?

Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, 5 Malakoff Street, North Caulfield, Melbourne, until April 27

diggins.com.au

Lauraine Diggins OAM

On International Womens Day, we’re celebrating all women worldwide; and in particular one woman close to our hearts, Lauraine Diggins. The staff at Lauraine Diggins Fine Art are very proud that Lauraine has received a Medal of the Order of Australia at this year’s 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 enriches the visual arts in this country through her support and philanthropic contribution to many public institutions. We particularly admire 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 ongoing involvement in the arts of Utopia and her keen sense of an educational focus through the Gallery’s website are worthy of recognition.

Congratulations Lauraine, it is a well-deserved honour.

 

gg.gov.au

#BeBoldForChange

Sidney Nolan documentary screening Tues 6 November

Following last week’s documentary on John Peter Russell (which you can now catch on iview), this Tuesday 6th November the ABC is screening a documentary on Sidney Nolan at 9.30pm.

Nolan’s iconic imagery, especially his Kelly series, is ingrained in the Australian psyche.

Everyone feels they know Nolan, but that is far from the truth.

The Melbourne Fair

August is Art Fair season in Melbourne! Lauraine Diggins Fine Art again participated in The Melbourne Fair which was on show 9th-12th August at Caulfield Racecourse and showcased over 50 specialist dealers focussing on  fine art; furniture; decorative arts; books, prints and posters; jewellery; fashion and vintage couture. It has been described as an Aladdin’s cave of treasures with something for every interest.

Lauraine Diggins Fine Art exhibited a selection of paintings, sculptures and works on paper which are now on view at the Gallery, including artworks by Nicholas Chevalier; Ethel Carrick Fox; Andrew Sayers; Danila Vassilieff and Roland Wakelin.

Contrasting coastal scenes by Arthur Boyd and Elioth Gruner show the wilds of the sand dunes of the ocean (Ocean Beach at Rye, 1957) against the jewel-like light and atmosphere of a wide expanse of sand against rippling waves (Figures on the Beach, 1917).

A selection of indigenous painting included a striking four-panel ochre work by Freddie Ngarrmaliny Timms, (Jimbaline, 1994) including Doon Doon Station, a scene associated with atrocities committed by pastoralists, a timely work in the wake of the Colony exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria.

We also exhibited a focus on Australian ceramics with works by Merric Boyd; John Perceval; Stephen Bowers and Zhou Xiaoping.

And gain an insight into the workings of an artist with Robert Clinch’s Dreamscape sculpture, depicting a playground day and night (complete with working streetlight) which features in his intricate lithograph pair of the same name.

It was a pleasure to see many of you at the Fair and to meet new friends of Lauraine Diggins Fine Art.

Vale Charles Blackman OBE

We pay tribute to Charles Blackman (1928 – 2018) who passed away Monday 20 August, aged 90. Represented in the National Gallery of Australia and in all public State Galleries, in addition to numerous private and corporate collections, his work is celebrated and widely recognised throughout Australia and internationally. Blackman was a self-taught artist and found inspiration for his art in personal references. His Schoolgirl and Alice in Wonderland series of artworks are particularly renowned. Drawing has always been an integral and essential part of Blackman’s artwork and the intimacy of his drawings are of great appeal. Although depictions of the world around him, they are often a personal reflection or response, felt rather than seen, and so evoke grander themes of the human experience.

Lauraine Diggins has fond memories of working with Charles for the exhibition A Line Around a Dream: Charles Blackman (1994) in particular his quick wit, generosity, and wonderful sense of humour. She recalls his great knowledge of music and literature, which shaped his art. “The innocence, humour and sometimes childlike naiveté, which comes through in his art, was a reflection of his own ‘larger than life’ personality. It was a privilege to know him and to be able to show his work. He had a truly wonderful capacity to create great art imbued with real emotion, which enable viewers to really share the experience and feel a connection. His contribution has made the world a richer place and his legacy will live through his art.”

The Charles Blackman Foundation released the following statement which can be read in full on the artsreview:

“It is with deep sadness that we announce this morning that our beloved father Charles Blackman OBE passed away just one week after his 90th birthday celebrations.

Charles Blackman is regarded as one of the most important figurative painters in Australia. Best known for his Schoolgirl and Alice in Wonderland series, Blackman’s artistic practice spanned painting, drawing, sculpture and tapestry, using his multidisciplinary approach to explore the female psyche, poetry, music and aesthetic philosophies.”

To read further biographical details please click here

NAIDOC WEEK 2018

Lauraine Diggins Fine Art recognises the celebration of Naidoc Week (8 – 15 July 2018) which this year focuses on the important role women have played and continue to play as influential role models.

We see this in the community of Utopia where the women artists in particular have forged a presence on the international art stage – particularly, Emily Kam Kngwarray; Gloria Petyarr; Kathleen Petyerre – and continue to build on this legacy with younger artists including Genevieve Kemarr Loy.

Utopia, a former cattle station in central Australia (around 240kms north east of Alice Springs) was handed back to the Anmatyerr and Alyawarr people as Aboriginal freehold land in 1979. The women at Utopia were instrumental in the land rights claim, as they presented evidence of their ownership of the land through Awelye (women’s ceremonies) including body paint designs. Sales from batiks created by the women in the late 1970s enabled funds to be available to support the successful land claim.

The paintings by artists from Utopia are a contemporary expression of the cultural knowledge an artist holds about country, formed through the medium of acrylic paint. Although often superficially depicting the food and flora of their landscape, such paintings reveal an artist’s inextricable link to country and the deeper intimate knowledge of cultural heritage and ceremony.

Currently on view at Lauraine Diggins Fine Art are paintings by Nancy Kunoth Petyarr and her daughter Elizabeth Kunoth Kngwarray.  Click here to read more about Utopia and the artists from this region.

ELIZABETH KUNOTH KNGWARRAY 212070 (detail)
ELIZABETH KUNOTH KNGWARRAY Yam Seeds and Flowers in my Grandmother’s Country 2012

Constance Stokes : greatest draughtsman

Bella d’Abrera, granddaughter of Constance Stokes was a recent guest on the Sky News program Outsiders (Monday 25th June) where she spoke about the importance of Stokes’ rigorous academic training and the impact of travelling and seeing important artworks in London and Paris and how that shaped her art.

“She was able to use one line to capture the solidity and weight of the figure and this was entirely based on her training, really rigorous training as a younger artist and that western tradition.”

218044 Stokes female nude
Constance Stokes 1906 – 1991 (Female Nude) 1964 ink on paper 24 x 33.5 cm

“Stokes was once mentioned in the same breath as Sidney Nolan, Russell Drysdale, Arthur Boyd, as a great Australian artist. She exhibited during the 30s, 40s, 50s and then again after the war in the 60s and 70s.”

“In London in the 1930s, she directly inherited that Renaissance idea of looking at the form.”

“Sir Kenneth Clark, who came to Australia in the 1940s and he met all the artists and he saw her work and he said, Constance Stokes is one of the world’s greatest draughtsman.”

“…she came back to Australia and she became the most sought after portraitist in Victoria at the time, so she had people queueing to get their portraits done by her…”

For an edited transcript please click here or to listen to the podcast click here

Click here to view artworks by CONSTANCE STOKES available at Lauraine Diggins Fine Art

Constance Stokes The Mime Tribute to Marcel 1981
Constance Stokes The Mime Tribute to Marcel 1981