Here's your new contemporary art.

February 20, 2019

With the art market on such a hot streak, the 200-lot Shapiro sale of Sydney identity Gary Sands’ extraordinary contemporary art on Tuesday night is shaping up to be one helluva remarkable sale of high to low pieces – that you’d be mad to miss.

Real estate broker Sands is downsizing, and distilling his vast collection of more than 200 pieces to less than 50 pieces as he retires.

The impressive art collection will be auctioned at Shapiro next week, which is your big chance to vie for name-brand trophies as well as lower-priced pieces.

Contemporary art is such a compelling investment; you won’t go wrong with painterly landscapes to  swirling monochrome abstracts and blue chip canvases. There are portraits, beautiful oils, acrylics on wood, expressionist pieces plus a kaleidoscopic style of works.

It’s a great mix – with works by lesser-known artists to in-demand, fashionable big-names, all with entrancing raw energy.

There’s an impressive line up of paintings, photography, sculptures, and ceramics, Sands has collected from Sydney galleries and dealers since the 1980s. Shapiro general manager Rohan Hawthorn, a specialist in Australian and international fine art, says the collection is quite different from the usual offerings.

“It’s very contemporary and there are some unique pieces, like very contemporary photographs, and it looks fantastic in the gallery,” he says. “A lot of the work is from artists who haven’t hit the secondary market yet, so it will be very interesting to see what happens.”

Find names like Tamara Dean, Juan Chen, David Hockney, Annie Leibovitz, Tommy Watson, A.J. Taylor, Sally Gabori, Ildiko Kovacs, Guan Wei, Tim Johnson,  Joseph McGlennon,  Matt Arbuckle, and so many more.

Sands says he is a self-taught collector, who bought something because it was “beautiful, provocative, unusual or he just had to have it. I knew what I liked..and being in Sydney I had a broad cross-section to things. I knew Roslyn Oxley. I didn’t know where I was going to put them, or how I was going to pay for them, but I just wanted them.”

“I’ve been influenced by all kinds of exposure to artists” that he says has been piqued further by the internet – which has become the collector’s indispensable, all-purpose tool for everything art-related.”

“The late Eva Breuer spent a lot of time guiding and educating me in my early days. The wonderful and equally patient Annette Larkin encouraged me to question pieces; and more recently Tracey Vooper Lavery, director of Home of the Arts Gallery (HOTA), Gold Coast, has pushed me to think about where art and galleries fit into our lives today.”

Sands tip to someone starting a collection? “Buy something you love…and if you haven’t got a place for it. Find a space.”


Shapiro Auctioneers and Gallery
162 Queen St, Woollahra NSW 2025, (02) 9326 1588,


Woollahra Hotel Function Room, 116 Queen St, Woollahra NSW 2025,

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