Untitled [‘Abstract’] (c.1980-81?) [W/P]

Synthetic polymer paint on paper, 86 x 62

Coll.: unknown (last auctioned Nov.2017)

This interesting work does not appear to have been mentioned before it surfaced at auction shortly after Arkley’s death (undated); it was exhibited in 2006, as dating from c.1985. However, presuming that the work is authentic, an earlier date seems likely.

In the first edition of this catalogue, a date of c.1980-81 was suggested, given the stylistic similarity of this work to others from this period, including cross-hatched patterning in contrasting colours and a roughly painted monochrome background (as in Room Interior 1980 [W/P]), the axonometric construction (cf. Table 1980 [W/P]), and the tension between the flat patterning and the hints of 3D illusion, as in several other key Arkley works of the time, notably Metallic 1981.

At auction in Melbourne in 2016, and again in 2017, a date of 1979 was indicated (but without any mention of an inscription).


  • auctioned by Christie’s, Melb., 23-24 Nov.1999, lot 119, as ‘Abstract’, undated (ill. and dets. as above; no provenance indicated; est.$5-7,000; sold for $5,000 + buyer’s premium)
  • Private collection, Melbourne
  • auctioned by Menzies, Melb., 23 March 2016, lot 118, as ‘Untitled, 1979’ (ill., size and prov.as above; est.$6-9,000; not sold)
  • auctioned by Leonard Joel, Melbourne, 28 Nov.2017, lot 180 (no ill., dated 1979; eat.$5-8,000; sold for $5,000)


  • John Buckley Gallery, Richmond, 11/06: as Untitled c.1985 (work on paper, 85 x 62)