Spray Veneer 1994

Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 203 x 153
Signed, dated & titled: ‘Howard Arkley / Spray Veneer / 1994…’ [on reverse; acc.to Deutscher & Hackett 11/12]
Private collection, Melbourne

First shown in Arkley’s 1994 ‘Pointillist Suburb’ exhibition. Criss-crossing line-work, sometimes using three distinct colours, forms the basis of the patterning here, setting up a reverberant surface. The only element to resist the striped patterning is the ‘monstrous’ bush outside the window – also a feature of Our Home (1986), Arkley’s earliest work based on this real estate composition. Here, the creature becomes a bizarre abstract fantasy in two-tone blue.

Following the 1994 Tolarno exhibition, this work entered the collection of prominent Melbourne architect Alan Powell. In 2012, he auctioned it, citing difficulties finding a fit between Arkley’s dynamic painting and the rest of his collection (as quoted in Bellamy 2012). When exhibited just prior to the 2012 auction, the canvas appeared to be in excellent condition.


  • Purchased from the 1994 Tolarno show by ALan Powell, Melbourne
  • auctioned by Deutscher & Hackett, Melbourne, 28 Nov.2012, lot 22, as ‘Spray Veneer (Vernice a spruzzo), 1994’ (other details as above; est.$250-300,000; sold for $300,000 including buyer’s premium)


  • HA Tolarno 11/94 (‘Pointillist Suburb series’), cat.4 ($10,000)
  • HA Venice 1999 (‘Home Show’)
  • HA ‘Home Show’, Ian Potter Gallery, University of Melbourne
  • HA retrospective 2006-7 (all 3 venues)


  • Spray 125 (full-page ill.)
  • Livingstone & Morrell 1999 (HA Venice exh.cat.), p.19 (ill.)
  • Szeemann & Liveriero Lavelli 1999: 7 (ill.)
  • Bellamy 2012
  • Nicholls 2012 (Deutscher & Hackett auction catalogue entry)