FOUND > Painting May Fetch $400,000

Originally bought online and thought to be a fake

Video
Roberts is known as the Father of Australian Impressionism.

September 22, 2017
By Ruthie Bowles, Contributing Author for What Sells Best

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA (VIDEO) - Art Fix Daily reports that a struggling Australian couple, who thought they had purchased a fake Tom Roberts painting, were very shocked to learn that it is indeed authentic and may fetch $400,000 ($500,000 Australian Dollars).

THE STORY

Joe and Rosanna Natoli won this painting, named Rejection, with a late night online bid to an English auction house in 2013. The piece was given an estimate value of £60-100 pounds because it was believed to have been created in the style of the Australian born artist, and not created by his hand.

According to The Guardian, Joe Natoli is a modest art collector and the former mayor of Maroochydore, a major commercial area of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Based on information from Blouin Art Info, the couple felt a mysterious pull towards this painting, and reportedly paid £7,500 (a little over $10,000 USD) in their final bid.

When the painting arrived in Australia, experts told the Natoli’s that it was fake. Sometime after that, they faced serious financial hardships, losing their home, savings, and grocery business. They had to move in with Joe’s sister, and he was crippled by depression. A friend called the BBC show, Fake or Fortune?, in an attempt to help the Natoli’s.

The TV show’s experts concluded that the painting was in fact a self-portrait done by none other than Tom Roberts himself. It depicts a man staring dejectedly at a painting, while being consoled by a woman, perhaps his wife. They believe it was painted while Roberts was studying at The Royal Academy of Arts in London during the 19th century. Therefore, not only was this piece lost for 136 years, it was also unknown.

WHY IT'S RARE

Thomas William “Tom” Roberts [1856-1931] was an Australian artist who was born in Britain. He is considered one of Australia’s greatest artists, and he is also called the Father of Australian Impressionism.

Based on descriptions found in The Encyclopedia of Art History, Roberts brought the idea of impressionism home with him, after his studies in London. The concept was to paint nature as it truly was. He also focused on and encouraged using Australian subjects as painting inspiration. His original paintings are very rare, and are highly sought after collectibles.

Tom Roberts was a well-respected artist in his time. He was commissioned to produce a painting now called the Big Picture. It depicts the first sitting of the Australian Parliament. The piece took two years to complete, and Roberts suffered vision and health damage, according to Australian Parliament information.

COMPARABLES

While it hasn't sold yet. Among treasure we’ve tracked, the painting definitely ranks high.

Tiny details can cause the prices of rare painting to vary a great deal. If you find a painting you suspect could be valuable, you may want to check with the experts found on our free appraisals page.

SALE INFORMATION

According to The Guardian, the painting is now available for private sale through Philip Bacon Galleries in Brisbane. AFR Magazine describes Philip Bacon as the go-to Australian art dealer, because his gallery has sold paintings valued at over $800,000. “It will definitely sell for in excess of $500,000 ($400,000 USD).” said gallery manager Lachlan Henderson. The painting will be brokered by the gallery as a private sale.

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