Russell Drysdale's outback painting Grandma's Sunday Walk sells for $3m at auction

Russell Drysdale's outback painting Grandma's Sunday Walk sells for $3m at auction

Russell Drysdale's outback painting Grandma's Sunday Walk sells for $3m at auction

Updated 25 June 2017, 22:35 AEST

Grandma's Sunday Walk — one of the last masterpieces painted by acclaimed Australian artist Russell Drysdale just before he lost his eyesight — sells for $2.97 million at auction in Adelaide.

One of the last masterpieces by acclaimed Australian artist Russell Drysdale has fetched nearly $3 million at auction in Adelaide.

The piece entitled Grandma's Sunday Walk was painted in 1972, just before the artist lost his eyesight.

Paul Sumner from Mossgreen Auctions said it was rare to see a painting of such calibre up for sale.

"We touted it as his last great masterpiece and one of the most important pictures to come on the market for a long time," he said.

"That was proved with the result because it's now sold for $2.97 million, the fifth-highest price for any Australian artwork at auction."

The painting was part of an art and antiques collection belonging to Adelaide's Hickinbotham family which went under the hammer at the National Wine Centre.

"The total collection sold for $4.35 million, which is the highest total for any arts or antiques auction ever held in South Australia," Mr Sumner said.

He said the Drysdale painting was the stand-out, far exceeding its $1.8 million price-tag estimation.

"It's what we call a 10-out-of-10 painting," he said.

"It captured Drysdale's unromanticised view of life in the outback, which he did from the 40s right through to the 70s.

"He was the first artist that really took Indigenous people seriously in terms of how he depicted them in life.

"[The painting] also has a sense of optimism with the children playing — probably it was a sign-off from him at the end of his career."

After competition between three main bidders, it was sold to an Australian buyer who wished to remain anonymous.

But Mr Sumner said it was not likely to sit behind closed doors forever.

"I'm sure one day, knowing the collector, that it will be leant to exhibitions," he said.

"It's already been requested for one touring exhibition."