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Michael McWilliams Sold at Auction Prices

b. 1956 -

Michael McWilliams - 1956 - Present - Biography

Michael McWilliams' exquisitely painted works have the aura of precious collectors' items. This is not only because he decorates antique pieces that are in themselves collectables; cupboards, chests, tables - anything from clocks to cellos really - but because of his meticulous craftsmanship and the distinctive quality of his creative imagination. A number of ingredients come unusually together in McWilliams: he is a fine painter, an animal lover, is knowledgeable about furniture and restores it, and has a witty sense of humour. He has the uncanny ability to select the animals, the setting, the arrangement, that is just right for this piece of furniture. The finely painted realism of these animals - often astonishing - is matched with wit and an elegant sense of design. Each animal has its distinct personality and seems quite naturally to belong to the piece - whether it's magpies playing draughts on a pie-cupboard, plovers guarding a ballot-box or fish serenely swimming across a table-top, watched by a cat.

McWilliams generally paints only colonial furniture items in Australian timbers - cedar, blackwood, and kauri ant Huon pine. He knows his antiques, having as a child accompanied his father on buying trips for the antique shop in Longford, Tasmania, of which he is now co-proprietor. In recent years the demand for his work has increased considerably. He has won a number of art awards and his works have been selected for several national exhibitions.

If you haven't previously seen a Michael McWilliams work, at first glance you could be forgiven for thinking you'd stumbled across some undiscovered colonial artist - a William Gould perhaps - for these images of a peaceable kingdom of animals seem to arise from some innocent past, now irretrievably lost.

But look again and you'll see that these paintings must be contemporary for only from the perspective of the present do we see that this gentle rural world is, for most of us, a thing of the past. Besides, design elements like the arrangement of forks and crab claw in Crab Attack are clearly contemporary. And furthermore, no colonial artist painted such a range of animals with such affection. Many of the domestic and farm animals are known to him by name; they are portraits of animal friends.

Which is not to say that his animal kingdom is all sweetness and light. These works are highly sophisticated and often have an engagingly humorous or occasionally sinister edge. Look at that smug cat sitting proprietorially on a wooden box containing a wattle bird, a silver eye, a sparrow and other birds in Olive's Toy Box. It reminds me of the cat terrifying a caged goldfinch in Hogarth's The Graham Children (1742) which Sir Kenneth Clark described as 'perhaps the greatest cat in art'. McWilliams' cat hasn't yet pounced; it is enjoying the situation, gloating, the way cats do.

Occasionally he makes amusing reference to colonial works. In Midnight Snack, a painting of a cow on a meat-safe, the cow is reminiscent of historical stock portraits, which proud owners would commission to commemorate the pedigree of their prize animals. McWilliams' cow, like her historical forebears, is a fine, fat, exaggeratedly large animal - the picture of pastoral perfection. She is even illumined by the golden rays of the setting sun. But she's chewing! Straws of hay protrude from her mouth as she stares out at the viewer, deadpan. So much for traditional bovine dignity.

In one of his major works, Sheep at Blackwood Creek, the wide landscape panel of lushly painted bushland has a dream-like quality. At first you see only the sheep - one stares out at you from the foreground creed - but then you notice that the mysterious depths of the bush are alive with animals, among them a possum, a bandicoot, a crow, a night heron and, movingly, for it is now extinct, a Tasmanian Tiger. The irony of sheep dominating the foreground of this Australian arcadia is telling, for the clearing of land for pasture was a major factor in the Tiger's extinction. Michael McWilliams' paintings aren't as innocent as they seem.

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      • Michael McWilliams (1956-) Australia - Uncertain Friends
        Mar. 11, 2024

        Michael McWilliams (1956-) Australia - Uncertain Friends

        Est: $600 - $800

        Michael McWilliams (1956-) Australia Uncertain Friends Acrylic on Huon Pine Signed, dated lower right

        Colville Auctions
      • Michael McWilliams (1956-) Australia - Sylvie on the Springboard
        Mar. 11, 2024

        Michael McWilliams (1956-) Australia - Sylvie on the Springboard

        Est: $2,500 - $3,500

        Michael McWilliams (1956-) Australia Sylvie on the Springboard Acrylic on Huon Pine Signed, dated lower right

        Colville Auctions
      • Michael McWilliams (1956- ) Australia - Surfing in the Sun
        Nov. 13, 2023

        Michael McWilliams (1956- ) Australia - Surfing in the Sun

        Est: $4,000 - $6,000

        Michael McWilliams (1956- ) Australia Surfing in the Sun Acrylic on Huon Pine Signed lower left

        Colville Auctions
      • Michael McWilliams (1956-) Australia - Jimmy Possum Get Together
        Nov. 13, 2023

        Michael McWilliams (1956-) Australia - Jimmy Possum Get Together

        Est: $44,000 - $48,000

        Michael McWilliams (1956-) Australia Jimmy Possum Get Together Acrylic on linen Signed lower right

        Colville Auctions
      • Michael McWilliams (1956-) Australia - Lucy Under The Arch
        Aug. 07, 2023

        Michael McWilliams (1956-) Australia - Lucy Under The Arch

        Est: $4,000 - $6,000

        Michael McWilliams (1956-) Australia Lucy Under The Arch Acrylic on Australian cedar panel Signed and dated lower right

        Colville Auctions
      • Michael McWilliams (b. 1956)
        May. 23, 2023

        Michael McWilliams (b. 1956)

        Est: $3,000 - $5,000

        Rope Games, 1999 acrylic on baltic pine lidded box c. 1870

        Shapiro Auctioneers
      • Michael McWilliams (b. 1956)
        May. 23, 2023

        Michael McWilliams (b. 1956)

        Est: $5,000 - $7,000

        Fish Tales, 1999 acrylic on Australian cedar chest c. 1880

        Shapiro Auctioneers
      • MICHAEL MCWILLIAMS (1956 - ) Untitled, 1996 (The Crows) oil on panel 20.5 x 21 x 1 cm, overall signed and dated lower left
        May. 18, 2023

        MICHAEL MCWILLIAMS (1956 - ) Untitled, 1996 (The Crows) oil on panel 20.5 x 21 x 1 cm, overall signed and dated lower left

        Est: $2,000 - $3,000

        MICHAEL MCWILLIAMS (1956 - ) Untitled, 1996 (The Crows) oil on panel 20.5 x 21 x 1 cm, overall signed and dated lower left

        Lawsons
      • MICHAEL MCWILLIAMS (1956 - ) Untitled, 1996 (Fly Fishing) oil on paper 33 x 23 cm (frame: 55 x 45 x 2 cm) signed and dated lower right
        May. 18, 2023

        MICHAEL MCWILLIAMS (1956 - ) Untitled, 1996 (Fly Fishing) oil on paper 33 x 23 cm (frame: 55 x 45 x 2 cm) signed and dated lower right

        Est: $3,000 - $5,000

        MICHAEL MCWILLIAMS (1956 - ) Untitled, 1996 (Fly Fishing) oil on paper 33 x 23 cm (frame: 55 x 45 x 2 cm) signed and dated lower right

        Lawsons
      • MICHAEL MCWILLIAMS (1956 - ) Untitled, 1996 (The Chicken) oil on panel 11.5 x 12 x 1 cm, overall signed and dated lower left
        May. 18, 2023

        MICHAEL MCWILLIAMS (1956 - ) Untitled, 1996 (The Chicken) oil on panel 11.5 x 12 x 1 cm, overall signed and dated lower left

        Est: $800 - $1,200

        MICHAEL MCWILLIAMS (1956 - ) Untitled, 1996 (The Chicken) oil on panel 11.5 x 12 x 1 cm, overall signed and dated lower left

        Lawsons
      • Michael McWilliams (1956 -) Australia - Rain Expectations
        May. 01, 2023

        Michael McWilliams (1956 -) Australia - Rain Expectations

        Est: $48,000 - $50,000

        Michael McWilliams (1956 -) Australia Rain Expectations Acrylic on linen Signed lower right

        Colville Auctions
      • MICHAEL MCWILLIAMS (born 1956) 150th Centenary Longford Racecourse 1996 synthetic polymer paint on paper
        Mar. 21, 2023

        MICHAEL MCWILLIAMS (born 1956) 150th Centenary Longford Racecourse 1996 synthetic polymer paint on paper

        Est: $7,000 - $9,000

        MICHAEL MCWILLIAMS (born 1956) 150th Centenary Longford Racecourse 1996 synthetic polymer paint on paper signed and dated lower right: M. McWILLIAMS 1996 inscribed lower left: 150 YEARS LONGFORD RACING/ 1846-1996 53 x 73cm PROVENANCE: Acquired at a charity auction for Longford Racecourse, Tasmania 1996 Private collection, Brisbane LITERATURE: Local Jockeys Win Immortality, The Examiner, Tasmania, Fairfax Media, 24 February 1996, p. 23 OTHER NOTES: Reproduced with permission of the artist

        Leonard Joel
      • Michael McWilliams (1956 -) Australia - Ready and Waiting
        Mar. 06, 2023

        Michael McWilliams (1956 -) Australia - Ready and Waiting

        Est: $28,000 - $30,000

        Michael McWIlliams (1956 -) Australia Ready and Waiting Acrylic on linen Signed lower left

        Colville Auctions
      • Michael McWilliams (1956 -) Australia - (My Harvest Home)
        Nov. 21, 2022

        Michael McWilliams (1956 -) Australia - (My Harvest Home)

        Est: $300 - $400

        Michael McWilliams (1956 -) Australia My Harvest Home Print Ed 6/300 Signed lower left below print

        Colville Auctions
      • Michael McWilliams (1956 -) Australia - Security Committee
        Nov. 21, 2022

        Michael McWilliams (1956 -) Australia - Security Committee

        Est: $6,000 - $8,000

        Michael McWilliams (1956 -) Australia Security Committee Synthetic polymer on board with cedar frame Signed and dated lower right

        Colville Auctions
      • Michael McWilliams (1956 -) Australia - A Day in the Country with Len, Di, and Zack
        Nov. 21, 2022

        Michael McWilliams (1956 -) Australia - A Day in the Country with Len, Di, and Zack

        Est: $4,500 - $6,500

        Michael McWilliams (1956 -) Australia A Day in the Country with Len, Di, and Zack Synthetic polymer on oak panel Signed lower right

        Colville Auctions
      • Michael McWilliams (1956 -) Australia - Zack on Chaise Lounge
        Nov. 21, 2022

        Michael McWilliams (1956 -) Australia - Zack on Chaise Lounge

        Est: $4,000 - $6,000

        Michael McWilliams (1956 -) Australia Zack on Chaise Lounge Synthetic polymer on cedar, tilt top model table Signed and dated lower right

        Colville Auctions
      • Michael McWilliams (1956 -) Australia - Zoe
        Nov. 21, 2022

        Michael McWilliams (1956 -) Australia - Zoe

        Est: $3,000 - $4,000

        Michael McWilliams (1956 -) Australia Zoe Synthetic polymer paint on oak panel Signed lower left

        Colville Auctions
      • Michael McWilliams (1956-) - Knee High in Willows
        Nov. 22, 2021

        Michael McWilliams (1956-) - Knee High in Willows

        Est: $32,000 - $34,000

        Michael McWilliams (1956-) Knee High in Willows Oil on board Signed dated lower right

        Colville Auctions
      • Michael McWilliams (1956-) - Sometimes You Eat the Bear, Sometimes the Bear Eats You
        Nov. 22, 2021

        Michael McWilliams (1956-) - Sometimes You Eat the Bear, Sometimes the Bear Eats You

        Est: $6,000 - $8,000

        Michael McWilliams (1956-) Sometimes You Eat the Bear, Sometimes the Bear Eats You Oil on cedar panel Signed dated lower right

        Colville Auctions
      • Michael McWilliams (1956- ) Australia - Delphinium Rising 2005
        Aug. 30, 2021

        Michael McWilliams (1956- ) Australia - Delphinium Rising 2005

        Est: $16,000 - $18,000

        Michael McWilliams (1956- ) Australia Delphinium Rising 2005 Synthetic polymer on composition board Signed lower right

        Colville Auctions
      • MICHAEL McWILLIAMS (born 1956) Just on Dark synthetic polymer paint on canvas
        Jun. 28, 2021

        MICHAEL McWILLIAMS (born 1956) Just on Dark synthetic polymer paint on canvas

        Est: $25,000 - $35,000

        MICHAEL McWILLIAMS (born 1956) Just on Dark synthetic polymer paint on canvas signed lower left: M. McWILLIAMS 110 x 150.5cm PROVENANCE: Bett Gallery, Hobart 2007 Private collection, Melbourne EXHIBITIONS: Pranksters, Players and Performers, Bett Gallery, Hobart, 15 June - 10 July 2007, cat. no. 4 OTHER NOTES: A Tasmanian local, Michael McWilliams' art practice began through the process of restoring furniture. Whilst working at his parents' antique shop, Michael started experimenting with painting on old tables, cupboards, and drawers. These relics of the past were now being given a new lease of life. From here he began to more broadly paint and exhibit, going on to win the Glover prize in 2004 as well as a two-time Archibald prize finalist. Michael's inspiration first and foremost comes from the Tasmanian landscape. With his studio just outside Launceston, it's native flora and fauna regularly appear in his work, often with a deeper environmental message. We feel the importance of this message, whilst also absorbing Michael's playful compositions and subtle humour. In Just on Dark, as the name suggests, the painting appears veiled in dark mystery. The kangaroos stare directly into the viewers eyes while branches lay fallen around them, highlighting human disturbance and interference. At first glance, some of Michael's works could be confused for early colonial landscapes. His meticulous observation and attention to detail draw parallels with fellow Tasmanian great, John Glover. However, it is with a contemporary perspective that we see his questioning of human impact on the purity of the land and its inhabitants. Olivia Fuller Head of Art

        Leonard Joel
      • Michael McWilliams (1956- ) Australia - A Bonded Pair
        Jun. 07, 2021

        Michael McWilliams (1956- ) Australia - A Bonded Pair

        Est: $6,000 - $8,000

        Michael McWilliams (1956- ) Australia A Bonded Pair Acrylic on Kauri boardn

        Colville Auctions
      • MICHAEL McWILLIAMS born 1940, Contented in the Shrubbery 1999
        Feb. 27, 2020

        MICHAEL McWILLIAMS born 1940, Contented in the Shrubbery 1999

        Est: $5,000 - $8,000

        MICHAEL McWILLIAMS born 1940, Contented in the Shrubbery 1999 synthetic polymer paint on Huon Pine panel 44.5 x 49.0 cm signed and dated lower right: M. McWILLIAMS 1999

        Menzies
      • MICHAEL McWILLIAMS born 1940, Meeting on High Ground 2001
        Apr. 26, 2018

        MICHAEL McWILLIAMS born 1940, Meeting on High Ground 2001

        Est: $4,000 - $6,000

        MICHAEL McWILLIAMS born 1940, Meeting on High Ground 2001 oil on board 59.5 x 79.5 cm signed and dated lower right, M McWILLIAMS 2001 Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, Melbourne Private collection, Melbourne Thence by descent, private collection, Tasmania

        Menzies
      • Michael McWilliams (1956 - ) Australia - Descending Darkness
        Mar. 05, 2018

        Michael McWilliams (1956 - ) Australia - Descending Darkness

        Est: $30,000 - $40,000

        Michael McWilliams (1956 - ) Australia - Descending Darkness

        Colville Auctions
      • MICHAEL MCWILLIAMS (BORN 1940) (Boxer Dog)
        Nov. 13, 2017

        MICHAEL MCWILLIAMS (BORN 1940) (Boxer Dog)

        Est: $200 - $400

        MICHAEL MCWILLIAMS (BORN 1940) (Boxer Dog) acrylic on blackwood pannel signed verso 17 x 14.5 cm

        Mossgreen Auctions
      • Michael McWilliams (1956- ) Australia - Thylacine Snapshot - Cub
        May. 02, 2017

        Michael McWilliams (1956- ) Australia - Thylacine Snapshot - Cub

        Est: $800 - $1,000

        Thylacine Snapshot - Cub

        Colville Auctions
      • Michael McWilliams (1956- ) - (B/W Landscape)
        Sep. 20, 2016

        Michael McWilliams (1956- ) - (B/W Landscape)

        Est: $4,000 - $5,000

        Well known Tasmanian based artist who brings humour and light hearted comments to highlight issues of animal rights and forestry. Primarily a landscape painter, Michael won the Glover Prize in 2004, Glover Prize People’s Choice Award in 2011 and 2012, and the Waterhouse Art Prize in 2005, and was a Finalist in the 2016 Sulman Prize. Recent Hobart, Sydney and Melbourne shows sold out.

        Colville Auctions
      • Michael McWilliams (1956- ) - Resting Place, Thylacine
        Sep. 20, 2016

        Michael McWilliams (1956- ) - Resting Place, Thylacine

        Est: $5,000 - $7,000

        Well known Tasmanian based artist who brings humour and light hearted comments to highlight issues of animal rights and forestry. Primarily a landscape painter, Michael won the Glover Prize in 2004, Glover Prize People’s Choice Award in 2011 and 2012, and the Waterhouse Art Prize in 2005, and was a Finalist in the 2016 Sulman Prize. Recent Hobart, Sydney and Melbourne shows sold out.

        Colville Auctions
      • Michael McWilliams (1956- ) - (Moonlit Cows)
        Sep. 20, 2016

        Michael McWilliams (1956- ) - (Moonlit Cows)

        Est: $25,000 - $35,000

        Well known Tasmanian based artist who brings humour and light hearted comments to highlight issues of animal rights and forestry. Primarily a landscape painter, Michael won the Glover Prize in 2004, Glover Prize People’s Choice Award in 2011 and 2012, and the Waterhouse Art Prize in 2005, and was a Finalist in the 2016 Sulman Prize. Recent Hobart, Sydney and Melbourne shows sold out.

        Colville Auctions
      • Michael McWilliams Mole Creek Road Blocks
        Mar. 09, 2016

        Michael McWilliams Mole Creek Road Blocks

        Est: $13,000 - $15,000

        Well known Tasmanian based artist who brings humour and light hearted comments to highlight issues of animal rights and forestry. Primarily a landscape painter, Michael won the Glover in 2004 and People’s Choice Award 2011 and 2012. Recently Hobart, Sydney and Melbourne shows sold out.

        Colville Auctions
      • Michael McWilliams (20th/21st Century) Bray Golf Club
        Jul. 06, 2015

        Michael McWilliams (20th/21st Century) Bray Golf Club

        Est: €200 - €300

        Michael McWilliams (20th/21st Century) Bray Golf Club watercolour signed lower right & dated Nov '79 h:25  w:36 cm. Provenance: Private Collection

        Morgan O'Driscoll
      • Michael McWilliams (20th/21st Century) Morning Shower Oil on board 16.5 x 23cm (6.5 x 9'') Signed
        Dec. 16, 2014

        Michael McWilliams (20th/21st Century) Morning Shower Oil on board 16.5 x 23cm (6.5 x 9'') Signed

        Est: €300 - €500

        Michael McWilliams (20th/21st Century) Morning Shower Oil on board 16.5 x 23cm (6.5 x 9'') Signed

        Adam's
      • Michael McWilliams (Contemporary) "The Week's
        Sep. 28, 2010

        Michael McWilliams (Contemporary) "The Week's

        Est: €600 - €900

        Michael McWilliams (Contemporary) "The Week's Catch" Oil on canvas, 16" x 12" (40.5 x 30.5cm), signed. Provenance: RHA, 2004 (label verso)

        deVeres
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