French Visions of Australia

Friday, Dec 07, 2018

Hordern House was fortunate to have the opportunity to research and write the catalogue for the important collection of French voyage art recently auctioned by Deutscher and Hackett (Melbourne, 28 November). This in-depth cataloguing added another important dimension to the critically important story of early Australian art.

The 1800-1804 voyage of Nicholas Baudin in the ships Géographe and Naturaliste carried on board an impressive array of artists and savants, none more important than Nicholas-Martin Petit and Charles-Alexandre Lesueur: the catalogue describes the recently discovered and entirely unknown cache of thirteen extraordinary watercolours, gouaches and drawings by these two young artists.

The successful auction sale set an Australian record for a work in watercolour when lot 8, Sauvage de I’lle Van Dieman painted by Nicholas-Martin Petit in 1802 sold for $829,600. At Hordern House we are proud to have been part of the team that brought these outstanding works of art to the attention of collectors and art connoisseurs. To borrow the words of the leading art curator and academic John McPhee, “in fifty years of involvement in Australian art I have not seen another cache its equal appear for sale”.   

The Hordern House catalogue may be viewed by clicking the "Website" link above or please click here