Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri "Fire Dreaming"
Size:187 x 110 cms Code: TOAAC30661 Year: 1988
The art of Clifford Possum is notable for its brilliant manipulation of three-dimensional space. Many of his canvasses have strong figurative elements which stand out from the highly descriptive background dotting. In the late 70's he expanded the scope of Papunya Tula painting by placing the trails of several ancestors on the same canvas in the fashion of a road map. Within this framework, he depicted the land geographically. This laid the foundation for traditional Aboriginal Iconography to be placed on canvas. Other artists working with him took his lead and removed any elements of European Art from their work. In doing so Clifford, as well as the other artists involved with the Papunya Tula Movement helped to develop the true definition of Aboriginal Art, an art revolving around a culture, The Jukurrpa (Dreaming). Posthumously, Tjapaltjarri's works have drawn increasing attention. The artist's majestic painting Warlugulong (previously bought by the Commonwealth Bank for just $1,200) was auctioned by Sotheby's on 24 July 2007. Pre-auction, the work was expected to make art history as the most expensive Aboriginal canvas at auction. The work had been tipped to fetch up to A$2.5 million, more than double the then-record for Aboriginal art at auction. The work, in fact, sold for $2.4 million purchased by the National Gallery of Australia.
The Royal Collection UK,
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Holmes à Court Collection
National Gallery of Australia
Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia