Elizabeth (Beth) Pryce is well known to Oceanic art lovers throughout Australia and around the world. A founding member of the OAS and inaugural Secretary, Elizabeth is one of the select few to have received the distinction of being made an Honorary Life Member of the OAS in return for her many years of service to the organization, particularly in its formative years.
The main portion of the Elizabeth’s collection was sold at Sotheby’s in Paris on October 10 in a highly promoted single-vendor sale that achieved some heady results. The hero piece of the auction, the Yuat River Flute Stopper, previously owned by Australian artist, William Dobell, sold for €160,560 (including Buyer’s Premium). This work is familiar to Australian collectors having been publicly exhibited at both the SH Ervin Gallery and the National Gallery of Australia.
Other items also flew – especially an elaborate Solomon Islands comb that sold for €28,544, more than ten times the estimate. Overall the sale achieved just under an impressive €1million. Elizabeth is to be congratulated for her fine eye and her determined pursuit of excellent objects over many years, for these are the ingredients needed to build a superb collection. She is also to be thanked for providing such a sparkling and enthusiastic presence to the OAS over its first two decades. Well done Elizabeth!