The Old Time by John Brack

A painting by the Australian artist John Brack sold at auction for a record price this week, making “The Old Time” the most expensive Australian painting. The painting of a ballroom dancing couple sold for about $3.3 million dollars.

When compared to the prices paid for international artists, $3.3 million sounds like a laughable amount. But very few Australian artists ever make much of an impact on the world market, so it’s an impressive price for such a small market (Australia has about 20 million people).

most expensive australian paintingTo be honest, I think it’s an ugly painting and wouldn’t like it hanging in my house. John Brack held the previous record of the most expensive Australian painting with “The Bar”, which is a much better painting in my opinion. But being the most expensive painting does not mean that it is the best painting. It just means that somebody (with cash to burn) really wanted the painting on the day.

The painting that was meant to make a record at the Sotheby’s auction in Sydney this week sold for $2.8 million. Brett Whiteley’s big ugly “Opera House” was a gift to the QANTAS airline in exchange for free travel. It was a record price for the artist, beating the previous $2.04 million that another ugly Whiteley painting made in 2006. He is one of my favorite Australian artists, but he also produced a lot of crap that should have never made it out of his studio.

Here’s a short video about the John Brack painting at Sotheby’s.
>> Australian Art, Art Auctions, Brett Whiteley, Art Collecting

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. I liked the brack bar painting, but I really don’t like the ballroom painting at all. I am pretty much in agreement about the paintings you linked to.

  2. Great minds think alike Jafabrit! ;-)


  3. I definately dont think that this work is better than The bar

  4. Anonymous says:

    i think u need to keep an open mind about art. i respect your opnion and all but i don’t think those artworks are actually THAT bad.


  5. I probably don’t think theyre THAT bad anon, I just dont think theyre THAT good. I dont think they deserve to be records for the artists as theyre not their best paintings (in my opinion).


  1. […] Articulate – A new record was also recently set in Australia, when a Brett Whiteley painting sold at auction for $3.48 million. This breaks the Australian auction record that was recently set by John Brack. […]

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