William Dobell (1899-1970) Australia

Biographical Information

Sir William Dobell was born in Newcastle, NSW in 1899.

After 10 years extensive study in Europe and London, he returned to Sydney, giving a new dimension to Australian painting.

Because of the assimilation of a number of influences, he had a broad appeal to all schools and was claimed as the figurehead of the Sydney modernist wartime movement.

He was appointed official war artist and some of his best 'portraits including The Billy Boy, The Strapper, Scotty Allan and The Cypriot were the result of this period.

He further secured his position in Australian art history by winning the coveted Archibald prize in 1943 with his portrait of colleague Joshua Smith.

He took out both the Archibald and Wynne prizes in 1948 with the baroque style portrait of Margaret Olley and a landscape entitled Storm Approaching, Wangi. He won a third Archibald Prize in 1959 with a portrait of his surgeon Dr. Edward McMahon and was knighted in 1966.

Dobell died at Lake Macquarie, NSW in May, 1970.

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Market Information

Opera House, Sydney Harbour
Highest Price:
Opera House, Sydney Harbour
Oil on composition board, 108.5 x 121 cm
Important Australian Art, Sotheby's, Melbourne.
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 Total number soldNumber with imagesHighest priceRecent average price*
Paintings549417A$816,000 A$51,617
Works on Paper596282A$84,000 A$4,047
Prints & Graphics125A$12,925 N/A
Photographs11A$420 N/A
Objects62A$7,200 N/A

* Calculated on sales over the last three years, where there are a sufficient number of sales over that period.

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