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Elton John World News: Elton shops Down Under

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Tuesday 21 April 1998 @ 2:00 - GMT

Coming just weeks after the British press exposed Elton's high-spending tendencies, our idol is once again in the press - this time Down Under!


According to the Australian Financial Review, Elton may have joined Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber in setting new price horizons for Australian art. Two years ago Webber gave nearly AS$2 million for a sunset boulevard by

artist Eugene Von Guerard.


On April 6, at an antiques auction in Joel's rooms in Melbourne's South Yarra, dealer Scott Livesey gave AS$66,000 for a large marble statue of a near-naked sculpture catalogued as a male slave sculpted by the Australian colonial artist Charles Frederick Summers in 1884.


Livesey was buying for Sydney dealer Martyn Cook who, coincindentally,

was buying for Sir Elton. Cook declined to comment to the press on Elton's purchases.


Known Elton purchases on his latest trip, however, include photographs

by Max Dupain and Tracey Moffatt, which join portfolios of work by

another Australian, Bill Henson, in the pop star's collection. While the slave item made three times its estimate, there was a big show of ready hands still raised in Joel's rooms at around the $50,000 mark.


One underbiddr said it was a breathtaking piece - a copy of a famous work by the Italian sculptor Canova (1757-1822) - and he was very sorry to miss out on it.


Livesey said that it was not a slave but a boxer - what appeared to be chains at  the base were pieces of leather. Since the purchase, a photograph had turned up that shows the sculpture present at the opening of Melbourne's Royal Exhibition Building, he added.

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