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.


Read Lauraine’s OAM citation here.


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


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 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

Ming Meets Morris Meets Macropod – A Peabody Essex Museum Collection piece

The outstanding works by ceramicist Stephen Bowers continue to gain the interest by international collections. Ming Meets Morris Meets Macropod is a recent acquisition by the Peabody Essex Museum, Massachusetts, USA.

Ming Meets Morris Meets Macropod 2018 jigger jolley, white earthenware, underglaze color, clear glaze, on-glaze, ‘distressed’  burnished antique gold, 2.5 x 35.7 cm.

Against a back ground of lobed reserves, a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo ( Cacatua galleria) perches, holding in its beak a length of blue twisted string from which the bird is dangling a decorative bow arrangement The cockatoo references classic natural history (bird) illustration, being derived from, and paying homage to, the work of W T Cooper . The decorative yellow bow is sourced from Meyer’s Hand book of Ornament.

The reserve above the bird’s raised crest is filled with Honeysuckle, a wallpaper design first registered by William Morris in 1883. The bird perches on another reserve depicting a fragment of fabric design (also called Honeysuckle) by William Morris 1874 (sample in the Birmingham Museum). Behind the chest of the cockatoo is a reserve decorated with Eucalyptus corymbosa (Bloodwood) from botanical illustrations in A Research on The Eucalyptus and their Essential Oils by Richard T Baker and Henry G Smith, Technological Museum of New South Wales, Sydney 1920.

Finally, the large lobed circular fragment to the left of the cockatoo comprises a blue and white paneled border with elements in a central circular in-fill. The border and foliage details are based closely on Ming kraakwares held in the collection of the PEM Salem, in particular a porcelain Charger, 1573 – 1619, 3.3 ins (8.4 cms) X 20.7 ins (52.6 cms) dia. Museum purchase 1994. E84059. The paneled sections of the outer border contain motifs typical of the period including auspicious Buddhist regalia and symbols. The central circular reserve incorporates a rendering of the 1773 George Stubb’s Kangaroo – the first clear depiction of this Australian marsupial macropod.

For details about available works by Stephen Bowers, please view our stockroom or contact the Gallery.


Aboriginal Art at The Met, New York

Currently on show at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is On Country: Australian Aboriginal Art from the Kaplan-Levi Gift, citing paintings by leading indigenous artists in a contemporary global context. The exhibition includes large-scale paintings by Kathleen Petyarre; Dorothy Napangardi; Abie Loy Kemarre; Doreen Reid Nakamarra and Gunybi Ganambarr.

To find out more, click here

and to read a review click here

LDFA at The Melbourne Fair

Lauraine Diggins Fine Art is exhibiting at this year’s Melbourne Fair at Caulfield Racecourse from
23 -26 November 2017 with over 50 dealers specialising in Art, Books, Collectibles, Decorative Objects, Furniture, Jewellery, Vintage Fashion and Couture.

The Melbourne Fair 23-26 Nov 2017
The Melbourne Fair 23-26 Nov 2017 at Caulfield Racecourse

Opening Night Thursday 23 November 6pm – 9pm

Friday 24 and Saturday 25 November 11am – 6pm

Sunday 26 November 11am – 5pm

Single Day ticket $15 (conc. $10 and children under 16 free); Opening Night $30