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The Bob Baker (b.1937 - d.2018) Charity Auction for Rally for Recovery, Tomakin

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Blog by Moog

The Auction Barn would like to present – on behalf of one of our charity partners, Rally for Recovery - Tomakin – the sale of notable works by Bob Baker.

A respected fixture of the Australian art world, Robert ‘Bob’ Baker (b.1937 – d.2018) took a humanist approach to a wide variety of subjects from physics to landscapes, depicting them with carefully considered detail across a wide variety of mediums and formats.


Widely travelled and widely influenced, Baker was English born and took quickly to art, winning his first award at 10 years of age, becoming the youngest British artist admitted to the British Arts Society, travelling Europe on motorbike until eventually deciding to emigrate to Australia. His craft was quickly recognized in Australia, his works becoming a feature of the Sulman and Wynne prizes from the 1970s through to the 1990s. He moved to Bodalla before the millennium, deftly moving between new ideas – such as painting miniature literal birds-eye-views in the form of Magpie landscapes when a stroke left him with less mobility. Eventually, he would delve wholeheartedly into imagining unusual forms and imaginary objects inspired by scientific concepts with a sense of delicacy and richness often lost in the search of abstraction. These pieces, exploring volume and space with a palette recalling the work of Italian artist Giorgio Morandi, were a particular favourite of Bakers, and he would reject attempts from the viewing public to purchase them in his lifetime. The sense of scale and detail put into these works is best appreciated in person: they are large, inviting, and tranquil works.
[To left: Lot 3 in our Fine Art Charity Auction, 'Untitled 3' by Bob Baker (b.1937 - d.2018), oil on board, for sale in our current auction; To right, Lot 21 in our Australian and International Fine Art sale, November 2022, 'Ivy (3D)' by Bob Baker (b.1937 - d.2018), oil on layered perspex, sold for $450 AUD]
Since his passing, these works have been generously passed to Rally for Recovery - Tomakin, a NSW rural and coastal based organization working to raise funds for childhood cancer and blood disease research, and an incredible force for good over the past 20 years. Rally for Recovery recently delivered a cheque for $100,000 to the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation, all raised from the tireless efforts of volunteers, donors, and eager bargain hunters of Rally who now operate out of Tomakin on the NSW South Coast. As a partner of Rally for several years running, The Auction Barn is proud to host these works and list them for sale in our Australian & International Fine Art auction, as well as bring other Rally donated items to Canberra for sale in our General and Antique sales as well.
This auction, and future sales, present an extremely rare opportunity to buy major works directly from the estate of an artist whose works are varied, striking, and storied, and rarely seen on the market, with the proceeds benefiting a cause close to us and the community.
There are six works available in our auction, all accompanied by a conservator's report and provenance directly from the artist's estate in Bodalla. We are proud to present for your viewing pleasure the following artworks:
  • 'Untitled 13', an assemblage of roughly textured shapes contrasted by a trapezoidal form with a curiously alive, magma-like underbelly
  • 'Untitled 14', a strong, three dimensional shape reminiscent of a dark and cool corner of a room, a bastion of form in a floating beige-grey sea
  • 'Untitled 3', a fantastically observed steely textured form, imposing and mechanical but flawed and almost hand formed
  • 'They're Tops 1', a piece from Gallery Bodalla's 'They're Tops/Spinning Tops' 2007 Baker exhibition, similar to 'Untitled 3' in its industrial nature but in rich yellow-sepia tones
  • 'September 9.10', one of a pair from the Gallery Bodalla exhibition 'The Journey Continues', 2007, deceptively simple but with hidden elements and tones, assembled from squares and rectangles
  • 'September 9.11', one of a pair from the Gallery Bodalla exhibition 'The Journey Continues', 2007, more rounded than its pair, but with similar hidden colours and shapes


Each of these artworks is available for viewing in our gallery space in our foyer at 10 Wiluna Street, Fyshwick, Canberra, and open for bidding online from now until the 16th of December, 2022. And don't forget to visit Rally for Recovery when you're next down the coast, open on good weather days every Wednesday and Saturday from 9 to 12 midday at 10 Ainslie Parade, Tomakin, on the lovely NSW South Coast and a mere 20 minutes from Batemans Bay by car. 

Macklin, Robert (2021, July 14) ‘Beyond the madness, Bob’s paintings founder’, in City News (Online) <https://citynews.com.au/.../beyond-the-madness-bobs...>
The Beagle (2018, September 28) ‘Gallery Bodalla celebrates Bob Baker September 29th’, in The Beagle Weekly (Online),<https://www.beagleweekly.com.au/.../gallery-bodalla...>
Musa, Helen (2018, February 27) ‘Obituary: South coast artist who put science onto canvas’ in City News (Online), <https://citynews.com.au/.../obituary-south-coast-artist.../>
‘Robert G. (Bob) Baker’ in Australian and New Zealand Art Sales Digest [Directory] (Online), <https://www.aasd.com.au/artist/9128-robert-g-bob-baker/>

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