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Lot 3: TOMMY MCRAE CIRCA 1830-1901

Est: $18,000 AUD - $25,000 AUD
Sotheby'sJuly 31, 2006Melbourne, Australia

Item Overview




24 by 35 cm

Bears title lower left
Pen and ink on paper

Acquired directly from the artist by George McMahon, a customs officer at Albury on the New South Wales/Victoria border, thence by descent Private collection, South Australia Cf. See Sayers, A., Aboriginal Artists of the Nineteenth Century , Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1994, p.34, plate M4, for a related example in the collection of the National Museum of Australia, Canberra McRae and his family lived on the Aboriginal reserve at Lake Moodemere south of the town of Wahgunyah on the Murray River, in northern Victoria. He had been born at the time the area was being settled by squatters and later by gold-diggers. McRae's drawings, made in the latter part of his life, helped supplement his family's income. His unique drawings, featuring silhouetted figures in pen and ink, reveal a contemporary commentary on a changing social environment: among his subjects were the squatters themselves, the Chinese who came with the gold rush and other aspects of interaction between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people McRae was commissioned by the settlers to produce sketches of traditional life, mainly of hunting and ceremony. However his drawings of fights are, according to Sayers (1994:34), McRae's 'most spirited' compositions. Fights between Aboriginal groups were highly ritualised affairs where two groups would stand in line opposite eachother and throw spears and boomerangs at the opposing group. After a while, the warring parties would rush at each other and commence hand-to-hand combat with their clubs and shields. McRae continued the theme of fighting to depict clashes between Aboriginal people, Chinese and others McRae made drawings on individual sheets of paper and in sketchbooks This drawing comes from one of the sketchbooks

Artist or Maker

Auction Details

Aboriginal Art: 10th Anniversary Auction

July 31, 2006, 12:00 AM EST

926 High Street Armadale, Melbourne, ACT, 3143, AU