Menzies Art Brands
Menzies Art Brands is an Australian art auction company which includes both the Deutscher-Menzies and Lawson-Menzies auction houses. It is part of the private company Menzies International, which also includes cleaning business Menzies Group and the vineyard Noorilim Estate. It is one of Australia's major art auction houses by takings.
The company began as Deutscher-Menzies in 1997, founded by entrepreneur Rod Menzies and art dealer Chris Deutscher. Menzies bought Deutscher’s Melbourne based art dealership, and in doing so also acquired a stable of artists including Peter Booth, Bill Henson, John Olsen and John Brack. The first auction was conducted in 1998. In September 2001, Rod Menzies purchased Lawsons, a well known Sydney based auction house, and founded Lawson-Menzies. While Lawson-Menzies initially specialised in collectibles, it soon entered the same high value art market as Deutscher-Menzies. Both competed directly with Sotheby’s and Christie’s, until Christie’s departed Australia in 2005. In 2004, Menzies Art Brands was officially formed from the combining of Deutscher-Menzies and Lawson-Menzies.
In 2004, Lawson-Menzies established a specialist Aboriginal art department to capitalise on the booming Aboriginal art market. Sydney Aboriginal art dealer Adrian Newstead was recruited to run the department. He notably sold Emily Kame Kngwarreye’s painting Earth's Creation for $1,056,000 in May 2007. At the time, this was the world record price for Aboriginal art, and is still the highest price paid for a work by an Australian female artist. In the same boom year of 2007, Menzies sold Brett Whiteley's The Olgas for Ernest Giles for $3.48 million (including commissions). This was at the time the record for an Australian artwork sold at auction. The record is currently held by another work sold through Menzies, Sidney Nolan's First-Class Marksman, which sold to the Art Gallery of New South Wales for $5.4 million in March 2010.
In 2019, Rod Menzies and Menzies Art Brands were involved in a scandal surrounding the ownership of artwork in Menzies auctions. They were accused of inflating sales figures, as Mr Menzies had undisclosed ownership in the artwork. Menzies was accused of selling works he owned or co-owned through his auction houses without disclosing a financial interest and then buying some works back and including them in his sales results. The ACCC concluded after a lengthy probe that no further action would need to be taken.
- Bellamy, Louise. "Menzies Art Brands tops 2014 Australian art auction sales with $36 million turnover". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
- Coslovich, Gabriella (23 January 2010). "The art of the deal". The Age.
- Newstead, Adrian (2014). The Dealer is the Devil: An Insider's History of the Aboriginal Art Trade. Brandl and Schlesinger. p. 752. ISBN 9781921556432.
- "Welcome to menzies". Retrieved 27 January 2016.
- Newstead, Adrian (2014). The Dealer is the Devil: An Insider's History of the Aboriginal Art Trade. Brandl and Schlesinger. p. 753. ISBN 9781921556432.
- Fulton, Adam. "Record $5.4m for Nolan". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
- Newstead, Adrian (2014). The Dealer is the Devil: An Insider's History of the Aboriginal Art Trade. Brandl and Schlesinger. p. 853. ISBN 9781921556432.