The Art Gallery of New South Wales has just announced their latest acquisition of an incredibly valuable and iconic artwork from one of the most influential painters in the history of Australian art: Sidney Nolan’s First-class marksman – painted in 1946 from Nolan’s famous series of images inspired by Ned Kelly. It’s worth shitloads.
In fact, with a $5.4 million purchase price, it is the most expensive Australian artwork ever sold at auction, when an anonymous buyer secured the work earlier this week.
The “anonymous buyer” has been revealed when today it was announced that the painting was acquired through the Gleeson O’Keefe Foundation – a fund started by Australia’s pre-eminent Surrealist painter, James Gleeson and his partner Frank O’Keefe, providing the Art Gallery of New South Wales several million dollars to acquire works for the gallery collection.
Gallery director, Edmund Capon, spoke about the importance of the new acquisition saying: “The acquisition of this painting for Sydney fulfils a long-held ambition to bring into the collection one of the iconic images of Nolan. On behalf of the Gallery and the people of New South Wales, a huge thank you to the Trustees of the Gleeson O’Keefe Foundation for making this landmark acquisition possible. It is an acquisition that James Gleeson would have undoubtedly approved.”
First-class marksman will join Nolan’s other signature work Ned Kelly – given to the gallery by Nolan’s muse Sunday Reed, alongside other major Australian works by Arthur Streeton, Margaret Preston, Grace Cossington Smith, John Olsen, Fred Williams, John Brack, Rosalie Gascoigne and Brett Whiteley.