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Emily Kam Kngwarray, the Indigenous artist who impressed Sol Lewitt, is in the international spotlight

3 min read  ·  03 Jul 2024

Emily Kame Kngwarreye Untitled (1995). Private collection, Sydney. Copyright Estate of Emily Kame Kngwarreye, courtesy of Kaldor Public Art Projects

Works by Emily Kam Kngwarray (1910-1996) are in demand as major exhibitions raise the profile of the late indigenous artist, who only began painting vibrant abstracts in acrylics in her 70s.

Emily Kam Kngwarray’s HENI Score—a unique artist sentiment index—has jumped by 95% over the past three months, as a result of major exhibitions and impressive sales at auction. The National Gallery of Australia presented a Kngwarrary show in 2024 and Tate Modern has announced its own exhibition in 2025.

Market snapshot

Recently, her Untitled (Alhalker) (1993) sold for $807,100 at Sotheby's in March 2024. Another large-scale work, My Country (1992), which had a $509,000-$764,000 estimate, was due to be sold at Sotheby’s in June 2024 but was withdrawn before the auction. At Art Basel in Basel in June 2024, two works by Kngwarray were reported to have sold for more than $200,000 by Pace Gallery, which now represents the artist’s estate.

Sol Lewitt was a big fan of the Aboriginal Australian artist’s abstract paintings. “He was astonished by [Kngwarreye’s paintings] and immediately asked where he could buy some,” the Australian collector and philanthropist John Kaldor told The Guardian.

To keep up to date with Emily Kam Kngwarray shows and sales, see the artist's HENI News Dashboard.

"‘I feel a great affinity for [Kngwarreye’s] work and have learned a lot from her work.’ Sol Lewitt wrote to John Kaldor."

- The Guardian