Over the past 40 years I have witnessed the development of the Australian art market and seen an increase in value of many artworks that I have exhibited. I have also witnessed the awakening of the public to lost or relatively forgotten artists such as Clarice Beckett, Ian Fairweather and Grace Cossington-Smith. Niagara has contributed significantly to the growing appreciation of these and many other artists. I have always believed that maturity as a nation comes when we can look back, as well as forward in terms of our cultural life.
For the past twenty-two years Niagara has presented an annual exhibition of works that we consider have the potential to increase in value, both intrinsically and financially. The annual Blue Chip: The collectors’ exhibition features a concentration of important and valuable artworks causing a flurry of excitement, anticipation and demand.
In recent years we have been approached to distribute a number of important collections from estates, including the late Ruth Prowse and the collection of Janne Faulkner AM and Bill Faulkner. We have also worked with current collectors including John Hattam, whose collection is made up of works from the estate of Kate and Hal Hattam. These are all remarkable individuals who had a deeply personal connection to the art works within their collections.
I admire the way in which these collections were created. They reflect the curiosity and passions of their owners. I knew many of the collectors and had the privilege to discuss and view these works in their homes. It is a further privilege to place these works into new collections, both private and public, where they will continue to be valued.