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COOEE ART 3 mins read

Sale includes Emily Kame Kngwarreye’s, Earth’s Creation II – whose sister work was sold by Cooee Art for a record $2.1 million, the highest sale price by an Australian female artist


A significant collection of Australian Indigenous artworks owned by the estate of high-profile auctioneer, entrepreneur and art collector Rod Menzies is to be sold across two auctions, part one set for November 8, 2023.


The impressive collection of works for sale was amassed by Rod Menzies between 1999 and 2008, with many on permanent display in a purpose-built gallery at his historic Italianate Mansion. The Rod Menzies Estate Indigenous and Oceanic Art Collection comprises 214 paintings and artefacts with a combined market value of $3 - 5 million; many of these artworks hold the record price for their respective artists.


Among the works for sale is the prodigious Emily Kame Kngwarreye’s Earth’s Creation II, 1995 (LOT #29 EST $400,000 - $600,000), the 318 x 251 cm work comprising nine panels. Kngwarreye’s Earth’s Creation I was previously sold by Cooee Art for $2.1 million, making it the most expensive piece sold by an Australian female artist.  Painted during the same workshop, Earth’s Creation II features a cooler, more subdued palette. The grand work exhibits a bold confidence based on Kngwarreye’s deep understanding and inseparable connection to her country. In addition to the Sydney auction viewing, a Melbourne showing of Earth’s Creation II will take place at the Fin Gallery, Prahran.


Other notable works in the collection include Rover ThomasBullock Hide Story, 1995 (LOT #35 EST $50,000 - $70,000), Maggie Napangardi Watson’s Digging Stick Dreaming, 1995/1996 (LOT #28 EST $90,000 - $150,000) and Judy Napangardi Watson’s My Dreaming, 2007 (LOT #27 EST $25,000 - $35,000).


In 2007, a significant number of works from the collection were toured throughout Australia as part of the Masterworks of the Menzies Collection exhibition.


AUCTION VIEWING: 3-8 November, Cooee Art Leven, Redfern.

AUCTION NIGHT Wednesday 8 November at 7 PM (AEDT), Cooee Art Leven, Redfern.


More information, including the Auction Catalogue, is available at


Quotes attributable to Adrian Newstead, Senior Auction Specialist

This exquisite collection represents the pinnacle of contemporary Australian Indigenous art. Rod had a knack for attracting controversy, but his passion and eye for art – particularly works from Indigenous artists – was second to none.

This auction is a truly unique opportunity to acquire a stunning piece of Australian art history for a frankly remarkable price. The grandeur and significance of many of these stunning pieces lend themselves equally to corporate settings as they do residential.”


Quotes attributable to Cameron Menzies, son of Rod Menzies

Each of these works held a place in my father’s heart and spoke to his aspirations as a collector and dealer. Rod was in awe of and especially passionate about collecting female Indigenous artists and that pride and reverence is reflected in this catalogue, which features major canvasses by Maggie Napangardi Watson, Minnie Pwerle, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Dorothy Napangardi and many other notable First Nations women.


As his beneficiaries, it was very important to the family that these pieces were shown and sold together. They have hung prominently in various family homes over the last two decades and I’m sure they will go on to sit proudly in new settings that are equally reverential.”



About us:

About Rod Menzies

The formidable Rod Menzies, who died in April 2022 aged 76, was possibly the most driven and controversial art auctioneer Australia has ever known. A self-made business magnate, he opened his art auction house in 1998 and went on to reshape the Australian art auction landscape through a combination of panache, art-world savvy, and shrewd business tactics. After partnering with Chris Deutscher in 1998, Deutscher-Menzies outstripped Christie’s and became Sotheby’s biggest rival in Australia within just 3 years. By 2004, D-M was the market leader, turning over $30.1 million compared to Sotheby’s $21.3 million and Christie’s $15 million.


About Adrian Newstead OAM

Senior auction specialist Adrian Newstead founded Cooee Art in 1981. In 2004, Newstead was recruited to lead the newly formed Aboriginal Art Department of Lawson Menzies, of which he was the head until 2007. In the beginning of 2023, Adrian sold his part of Cooee Art to longtime business partner and managing director Mirri Leven.


About Cooee Art

Cooee Art was established in 1981 by Adrian Newstead OAM, Senior Specialist for this auction, and runs a hybrid art model to represent and support artists in an ethical and sustainable way. During the last decade under the guidance of Director Mirri Leven, Cooee Art has undergone a continuous evolution in every facet of the business. Today, in addition to being Australia’s oldest exhibiting Indigenous-focused fine art gallery, its auction wing is a market leader with specialist knowledge, bi-annually curating and consigning the finest Indigenous art from collections across the globe since its establishment in 2017.


Link to view full catalogue

Contact details:

For further information contact:

Patrick Rasmussen – 0430159690 /


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